Marbled Eye: Read The Air [Album Review]

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Marbled Eye
Read The Air
Summer Shade/Digital Regress [2024]

Album Overview: Marbled Eye, an Oakland-based band, is set to release their sophomore album, Read The Air, tomorrow, via Summer Shade and Digital Regress. The band, consisting of Chris Natividad (vocals/guitar), Michael Lucero (vocals/guitar), Alex Shen (drums), and Ronnie Portugal (bass), has been in the underground punk scene for over a decade. TFN stumbled upon their excellent debut EP cassette release back in 2016 and have followed them ever since. Their earlier works, along with their debut album Leisure in 2018, showcased their unique blend of post-punk with garage rock elements. However, following the release of Leisure, the band faced challenges, including the departure of Oswald and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, Marbled Eye regrouped, bringing in Ronnie Portugal on bass, and embarked on creating their new album. With Read The Air, they bring a return to form with an even greater focus on discipline within the music.

Musical Style: Marbled Eye’s musical style is rooted in post-punk but incorporates elements of garage rock, primitive hardcore, and art-school creativity. Their sound is characterized by tightly wound verses, electrifying choruses, and a sense of urgency that flows through their music. The band’s instrumentation is raw and dynamic but very regimented, with burly basslines, driving drum beats, and slicing treble guitar riffs.

Evolution of Sound: It is no surprise that with 6 years passing since their debut, Read The Air represents a progression in Marbled Eye’s sound. While maintaining their signature intensity, the album introduces a wider variety of songs, sounds, and tones. The band experiments with different tempos, melodies, and sonic textures but keeps everything very tight with a hard-driving rhythm and visceral intensity.

Artists with Similar Fire: Marbled Eye’s sound draws comparisons to modern post-punk bands like Institute, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and Total Control, who also infuse their music with elements of aggression and catchiness. Fans of bands like Protomartyr, Spray Paint, Preoccupations, and Interpol should also enjoy Marbled Eye’s delivery.

Pivotal Tracks: “In The Static” features twisting guitar work that starts right from the beginning and a mesmerizingly hooky chorus. “See It Too” is another standout track that shifts from stabbing guitar riffs to a catchy chorus, as its vocals stay just below the pulsing rhythms with infectious melodies. “Motion” is my favorite track on the album with its bleak yet compelling riffs. It has a classic The Godfathers “Birth, School, Work, Death” type of repeated refrain that explores themes of emptiness and sacrifice.

Lyrical Strength: Lyrically, Marbled Eye’s Read The Air covers societal disillusionment, the facades of civility, and the complexities of human existence. The lyrics are introspective, reflecting on the challenges and frustrations of navigating the modern world. Existential dread, disillusionment, and resilience to face life are the darker undertones on this record that fit with the album’s straightforward intensity.

Marbled Eye (EP) (2016)

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Thomas Wilde

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