Marriages debut ep Kitsune is an epic shoegaze masterpiece. It was love at first listen. I compared the ep to a modern version of the Cocteau Twins. Listening back to Kitsune, I understand what I was hearing when I said that, but it feels wrong listening back.
But listening to Salome, I feel pretty safe saying that statement was more of a prophecy. It’s still not fully accurate but the comparison works better musically. The huge fuzzed out wall of sound is gone. The band’s post metal past is clearly in the review mirror. Which took me by surprise at first. I love Kitsune and that huge wall of verged out fuzz was what drew me in. That huge sound translated into an epic live show!
By losing their big fuzzed out sound, Marriages creates the space to build more dynamics and vary their sound within each song. I should also say that when I say Marriages reminds me of Cocteau Twins, I mean vocalist Emma Ruth Rundle reminds me of Elizabeth Fraser. The reverbed guitars on Salome also carry a sound very similar to Robin Guthrie’s. On Skin, the album’s second track, is where the Cocteau Twins sound and influence really surfaces.
The Liar opens up the record and from the first note, I knew I was in for something completely different. In fact, I had to check that it was the same band on Salome that released Kitsune and not another artist named Marriages. Where Kitsune was huge and expansive in sound, The Liar is simple. Even when the song builds and explodes, it’s the bass and drums driving the song, leaving Rundle’s guitar playing to work as an accent, giving it more focus. Santa Sangre has a beautiful guitar layer that let’s Greg Burns explore the bass and give the song an additional layer of texture.
Binge is the track on Salome that makes me say wow. The chorus just jumps out of the speakers and the melody of the hook is catchy and memorable. But it’s not an ear worm. You won’t find yourself singing the song later and fir days on end, but you’ll find yourself at ease and enjoying the track every time you listen to it. The title track is as close you’re going to get to the fuzzed out sound of Kitsune. It’s more of a wash in reverb than distortion. The keyboard riff on Less Than is interesting and there’s more intensity on the verse to the song then there is on any other track. It’s about as “pissed off” as I’ve heard Rundle.
There’s a lot I love about Salome. It’s musically interesting and compelling to listen to. Sure, I loved the big shoegazey sound of Kitsune and would have loved more of that, but it’s not like Salome doesn’t appeal to the side of me that just wants look at my Chuck Taylors while I play guitar. 4 out of 5 Stars.