By Keith Sharp
Convention be damned! At a time when it’s in vogue to stream and download single releases, Vancouver’s Mariana’s Trench have released their first studio album in four years with a 17-track thematic concept titled Astoria. Chief creative force, lead vocalist Josh Ramsey originally envisioned the production as an ode to a favourite 80’s movie; The Goonies and there is a definitive 80’s feel to the record’s arrangement and lyrical contents. But as Ramsey himself admits, the production of the band’s first record in four years was shaped by much personal upheaval which included a serious illness to his mother and the breakup of a personal relationship – all fodder for material here.
And yes the 17 tracks are a little deceiving as five `tracks’ are In fact “cinematic orchestral movements” linking compositions together. Yes, there is an 80’s throwback to such a device, and those not used to listening to a concept recording will have to plow through this production to find lyrical gems like the Michael-Jackson inspired “Shut Up And Kiss Me” , their poignant debut single “One Love” and the up-tempo “This Means War”. With a closing “End an Era” refrain that features Ramsey’s family (including his ailing mother), Ramsey and fellow band mates; guitarist Matt Webb, bassist Mike Ayley and drummer Ian Cassellman are going against the production grain and have created an ambitious musical statement.
Fresh off co-writing Carly Rae Jepsen’s global smash, “Call Me Maybe”, Ramsey seems to have regained his creative mojo as the band promotes it’s new release with a projected extensive U.S and Canadian tour itinerary.