There have only been two times in my life in which I wish I were a man.
One of them was when I heard Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, that’s his name, and he plays a mean Sherlock) drawl in a British accent (yum).
The other one is more recent — just yesterday, when I heard The Marions’ EP, “Wires.” That deep, throaty, makes-my-toes-tingle voice makes me jealous: I want to sing his songs and not sound like Mia Thermopolis from Princess Diaries. I want to pretend that my Yale degree will make me as talented as all of them. I want to listen to them everyday and feel proud about my newfound Yale connection. For The Marions is a band of Yalies and ex-Yalies (Nathan Prillaman ’13, Ellis Ludwig-Leone ’11 and Niraj Patel ’11) and “Wires” features the Berkeley College Orchestra (Jacob Joyce ’14, Leo Singer ’14, Jess Oddie ’13 and Georgia Lill ’13) and John Brandon MUS ’09.
On their debut EP, the trio starts off slow and builds momentum with “Wires” — an outfit that almost makes your soul feel mellow, with its army-style drum beats and background percussion that reminds you of a personal fight song. Its soulful melody would probably make most people feel blissful listening to such a melancholic tune, which would be paradox, but The Marions totally makes it happen in “Wires.”
But the EP is not just slow, stirring music that eventually becomes monotonous to any college student, regardless of how fauxhemian they believe themselves to be.
“The Lights” has all the elements of a catchy pop song that a fan of bands like Beirut (really just made of Americans), or Phoenix would like. It’s happier; it’s perfect for a college student that wants to croon about the love of his life or someone who wants something that can play in the background of a calculus problem set. However, while it performs the function of diversifying the genre of the album, “The Lights” is not path-breaking nor very different from every other off-beat song that the WYBC plays on the radio.
“Green” makes a return to the deeper music that makes The Marions distinct from most other bands of its time. However, it seems as though “Green” lacks the unique quality that “Wires” seemed to possess, and feels a little washed out for an audience that’s crying out for more of that raw, untainted talent of The Marions.
“Nobody Move” provides another shift to a different genre, this time a more favorable one. It’s an exciting combination of folk percussions, thoughtful lyrics and a symphony of strings that really make the song what it is: one that will run through your mind for the next week, and make you hum along to its melody.
The Marions are not pop, or folk, or a pastiche of lyrics on top of an orchestra, but a lovely combination of all three. While they probably won’t blow your mind or shatter any musical boundaries, they will, for a reason you will never be able to pinpoint, remind you of home.
If you are not a Yalie whose musical sensibilities are limited to “Shots” or “Where Them Girls At” (that is, if your iPod gets any use outside Saturday nights), “Wires” is comfort food for the soul, minus the calories that come with something that satisfying.