Forty Marshas
"Forty Marshas"

(Beatville Records 2007)Forty Marshas - Forty Marshas

As the drummer for The Goo Goo Dolls, Mike Malinin must be getting pretty tired of playing the same power ballads from the '90s over and over because his new side project, Forty Marshas, is a whole different animal. Reckless and unbalanced, the Forty Marshas self-titled debut is hard to pin down and difficult to focus on. From minimalist instrumentals to punk guitar rock to atmospheric ambient, it is a weird collection of tracks. Rounding up a group of musicians, including Jason Greese (Green Day), Brad Fernquist (New Radicals), Malinin leads the off beat charge.

Speeding '70s style punk offers a much needed wake up call, shaking things up with "Revenge!" Monotone vocals accent the rhythmic "Think Big" while vocals from Sarah Meech (Continue The Lie) on The Kinks' "Sold Me Out" evokes the energy of Joan Jett meets The Distillers before the pounding and screaming of the metal track "Bucket Of Fire." Atmospheric tracks like "Screaming At Shadows" resonate deep tones as "A Wasted Life Is Not Worth Remembering (Advice from the 40)" is jagged and spacey. "Forget" is a dreamlike ride with Krista Galante taking over on lead vocals. The lounge piano and sax on "Would You?" only helps to add to the album's confusion with the overlapping spoken word ending.

Had Malinin and company stuck to one sound, or at least offered a more cohesive album, Forty Marshas could have had a stronger debut. As it is, the album takes such huge jumps it is really difficult to know what to expect next. When put altogether the tracks might seem haphazard but when taken individually, the tracks are tight and promising.

B-

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