This next album has more of an indie rock vibe compared to my other reviews. I found out about this band during the week as I was looking for some new material to write about. I stumbled across the band Marathon, and instantly felt a connection. Residing in Pennsylvania, Marathon consists of Zach and Erich Wagner on guitars and vocals, Ricky Kreiser on drums, Paul Winter on keys, and Robert Battle on the bass guitar. The sound they create is very expansive, showing their musical knowledge despite their youth. I can easily describe the genre of music as indie rock, but much of the album also falls into different musical genres, from ambient rock, to alternative rock, to progressive rock. Reminding me of bands like Slow Runner and Lydia, I enjoyed listening to them as I played their self-titled album “Marathon” multiple times a day.
From the beginning, the listener is hooked on the snare-driven drumbeats and effect-heavy keyboard in the song “Off White.” Kreiser, Battler, and Winter do an excellent job at their respective instruments to help set the mood and vibe for the entire album. With such great production, these members do their part in providing a high-quality product. I love the snare hits and clacking of drumsticks that are used in the songs “Roomful of Clocks” and “Chapel.“ The album also closes with synth and keys as it does in the beginning, which gives a feeling of completion when the album ends.
The guitar work that both Wagners provide is brilliant, using a mix of simple chord progressions with effect-driven melodies and dominant guitar solos. Songs like “Of Bloom” and “Symbaline“ show the lead guitar at its finest, with memorable solos that I can’t help but rewind and replay. The ambient nature of this album makes it harder for the listener to predict how album will progress, and when the next strum of a distorted guitar will begin. In addition to the ambient feeling, the songs on “Marathon” also flow into each other, leaving the listener with a proggy experience as well. The atmosphere of this album leaves the listener more focused than on any other album.
The vocals are very subtle and clean throughout the album, almost as if the listener is dreaming instead of hearing. The dreamlike affect that Wagner’s vocals has on his audience lasts through the entire album, but is best displayed in the song “Mountaineering.” With the use of dual vocals, the Wagners create the most memorable vocal moment on the album. This trance that is created by the band makes the album appear much shorter than it is, but in fact clocks in at 47 minutes. The album closes with “Ghosts of Ours,” as Wagner’s voice is reminiscent of Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree with his breathy, lower tone during the verse. The songwriting is excellent, mixing creative and thought-provoking lyrics with everyday situations. I believe their best song on the album is “Shine,” with its combined power of guitar, drums, bass, keys, vocals and lyrics that leave me with goosebumps. My favorite lyric comes from this song’s second verse:
“Well I watched the debt collect on the pavement, as dead as leaves / And waited for the day to come back again / And I wore the pouring rain on my shoulders for seven years / To carry the weight around on my chest” (source)
I highly recommend this album to those who love indie rock, alternative rock, ambient rock, and even progressive rock. I also recommend this album to those who like the bands Silversun Pickups, Lydia, Slow Runner, and maybe even some of Coldplay’s harder songs. This is the perfect album to listen to in the dark with the moonlight shining in the room. It’s an easy listening experience, and its dreamlike tendencies are perfect for the moments before you drift to sleep. The techniques used through the album are very catchy, and generate many unforgettable moments. Please support Marathon by checking out their Bandcamp page and checking out their self-titled album “Marathon.”
Please enjoy a complimentary listen of “Marathon” from Bandcamp below: