If you follow certain sportswriters, then you may be tired of HBO’s The Wire as metaphor for X.  Or if you know anyone who watched the show, you may be tired of them asking “you know what show you should watch?”  You may be tired of the fact this is the second review I’ve mentioned it in this week; it is pure happenstance, I assure you.  My own two cents on the show, for what it’s worth, is that the show challenged me to think about what I was watching and to view a world completely outside of my own.

Guess where this is leading?  If you guessed “Zechs Marquise put out an album that challenged me to think about how I listened to music,” then you heard the horn coming on my premise even before it came around the bend.  If there is one thing the brothers Rodriguez-Lopez know how to do, it is giving their listeners an all-you-can-eat buffet of aural goodness.

In their sophomore release, Getting Paid, Zechs Marquise further distance themselves from a supporting character and cult favorite of the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing series as well as their sibling-linked venture, The Mars Volta.  This release did something that neither The Mars Volta nor Zechs Marquise’s debut album Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare could do: they made a fan out of me.

Their space/prog rock sound has matured and crystallized into a cohesive arrangement that is layered like a parfait stacked nine stories high.  The dueling guitars of Marcos Smith and Matthew Wilkson traverse from fuzzy to dirty to spacey to dreamy and a little 70s funky.  Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez blazes his own path on bass divergent from the guitars and the crisp-yet-complex drumming from his brother Marcel.  I would mention the third Rodriguez-Lopez brother Rikardo on keyboards, but Marcel performed this task on the record with Rikardo coming aboard later.

The outcome is a complex album rich with texture that must be paid attention to.  It is not an album to put a couple tracks on a jogging mix or to casually listen to in the background.  These five to seven minute rock instrumentals vary in scope and pace so much minute to minute, second to second, that they call out to be experienced at their maximum potential.  Getting Paid is best enjoyed turned up to eleven so that the sonic net can be cast over your consciousness.  This is a stark departure from how music is generally enjoyed these days, and unfortunately most people don’t take the care required to lose themselves in a fifty minute album like this.

While the album opens with some heavy hitters in the titular “Getting Paid” and “Lock Jaw Night Vision,” I will admit that I found myself drifting out at times during my experience and “Static Lovers” and “The Heat The Drought The Thirst And The Insanity” lost me which, admittedly, is easy to do.  However, the band immediately picked back up with the trippy electronica of “Time Masters,” a genre bending experiment which did not go to waste.  By the time the album closes with “Mega Slap,” the listener is blasted with a thumping dirtiness of sound and confident posturing by the band saying “you’re goddamned right this is how we’re ending this album.”

Getting Paid did not give me a dark look at the streets of West Baltimore, but it did turn me on to the direction this quintet fromEl Paso is taking prog rock.  I put a charge out to anyone who claims to be a general fan of music to get lost in the acoustic storm of thick melody and cacophony Zechs Marquise has put out.  I will put good money on you not being disappointed.
Zechs Marquise – Everlasting Beacon of Light by INgroovesmarketing