Album Art

Songs from Southern and Baseline

Hellride Music     [June 2003]

Metal Maniacs was dead on about these guys. Their performance at SHoD IV last November was a revelation, truly the performance of the day if not the fest itself. They then became the fests instant celebrities, the guys with the Scottish accents, self-effacing spirits, and seemingly endless thirst for beer and soft drinks. They were there to rock and for the experience, truly selfless. They didn't push their CDs on anyone. In fact I don't think they even brought CDs, much to the chagrin of the crowd. That's when you know the collective mind of the band really is centered on the rock.

Well bless their single malt-drenched souls and little Nutcastle Brown n' Coca Cola-powered hearts. "Songs from Southern and Baseline" may be one of the top records of the year in the stoner rock set, and this hopefully will propel them beyond the limitations of the genre. Think of "Songs..." as Led Zep's "III" and "Physical Graffiti" (especially that very Bonzo-sounding kickbass and roots feel!), Captain Beyond's "Sufficiently Breathless", The Beatles' "Revolver" and Simon and Garfunkle's "Sounds of Silence" all wrapped in one. This is a showcase for Marshan's diverse elements... acoustic blues tumbles headlong with boogie, riff rock, and prog for a surprisingly multidimensional-yet-cohesive listening experience.

Marshan's first album, "Kings Thursday on the Friday Street" was a magnificent experience in Acrimony-like happy rock. Just a great feel good record that made breezy and sunny afternoons even more lovely. "Songs..." magnifies that experience at least 10 fold... everything here is more mature - the absolutely brilliant songwriting and use of vocal harmonies, the accent of a piano (you have to hear the amazing "Roger, Heat the Plate" to understand how great this sounds), the lyrics, even Dave Chang's outstanding production has taken a notch up, breathing some vibrant life into this recording.

Some songs you should pay attention to are diddies like, butt-shaker "Shake Yourself", the aforementioned catchy n' proggy "Roger, Heat the Plate", "Mind Dryer", "Sweet Things Suck", the bittersweet sounding "Out of Sight" and the very Led Zep III'ish "She's Gone" and rock-a-thon "Superbrick". That's at least seven out of the ten tracks that are of exceptional quality. That's a damn good ration for any album especially when you consider that not one of 'em is a clunker.

You will like this one.

Chris Barnes