Sound: "Once upon a time
I used to romanticize
Used to be somebody, never mind
I don't miss it that much now" - Ever After
With a soft echo added to a layered vocal melody, Marianas Trench begins Ever After, their best and most accessible album thus far. Marianas Trench is a popular Canadian pop-rock band from British Columbia, releasing Ever After as their fourth full-length album. Their first album, Fix Me, gained Marianas Trench a solid fan base, but their second album, Masterpiece Theater gained them Canadian mainstream success. The album won many accolades and sold 80,000 albums nationwide, going platinum. Even though the band is well known in Canada, the same is not true for the rest of North America.
Since Masterpiece Theater was considered by some fans and critics as one of the best pop-rock albums ever, people were questioning whether their next effort would live up to that their previous success. With Ever After, Marianas Trench decided to strengthen the pop part of their pop-rock sound. They removed the distortion from the guitars, added synth and more overall 'sugar' to the vocals. They also, like Masterpiece, made Ever After a concept album, about a boy who wakes up in a land with living toys that all have their hearts taken away by the evil Queen Carolina, and the journey he embarks on. Even though the concept may seem cheesy, it works within the genre and sound that the band goes for, adding another layer for the fan/listener to engross themselves in. The band just sounds more natural and comfortable with this sound, as shown by Ramsay's pseudo-scat in the chorus of "Stutter". They sound like they're having a blast, and it translates to the listener. // 10
Lyrics: As stated before, this is a concept album, so there are recurring themes and lines throughout the album. Reading the accompanying short story before helps you understand how all lyrics relates to each other. Even though the lyrics are slightly juvenile, such as
"When I got you right where I want you
I been pushing for this for so long
Kiss me, just once, for luck
These are desperate measures now "
from Desperate Measures, they are fun and enjoyable, and fulfill the purpose as being the backbone for the narrative.
Josh Ramsey solidifies his status as an extremely versatile singer who has the tone and control that many people could only dream of having. His ability to switch from the sweet crooning of Porcelain to the Queen-styled harmonies of "No Place Like Home" and "Ever After" to the pure rock sounding tone of "Desperate Measures" are nearly unmatched. Also, an important thing to note about the vocals is the effect use of harmonies by this band. Harmonies are used frequently, but they are used to add another layer to each song. For example, in the chorus of "Fallout" and "So Soon", the harmonies are mixed underneath Ramsey's vocals and involve all of the band members. Overall, the vocals are fantastic, and all of the melodies are memorable and energetic. // 9
Overall Impression: When was the last time you listened to a pop album without having to skip one song and not have the album be a guilty pleasure? When was the last time that a quality, fun, pop-rock album had some credibility? Marianas Trench was able to achieve this flawlessly with Ever After. From the first note to the last, Marianas Trench takes you on an emotional roller coaster, taking you to the peak where you have a fun, energetic dance party and to the trough, with an uplifting, yet somber ballad. Every song has a memorable hook, catchy chorus or "moment" that you'll be singing for days after listening to the album. This a benchmark release by Marianas Trench and a statement to the rest of the music industry, showing they are capable of producing a mainstream pop album with substance. They also rose to the challenge of topping their former Masterpiece, passing with flying colors. Bravo, Marianas Trench. Bravo. They deserve nothing but success. // 10