Reviews Attack in Black Marriage

Attack in Black

Marriage

There’s no way around this but to say it straight: I heard the first track from Attack in Black’s Marriage, “Come What May,” and without hesitation, went to buy the album. I couldn’t tell you the last time a song did that to me. Maybe it was the way the guitars swelled and stopped at just the right moment, underscoring frontman Daniel Romano’s vocals and lyrics before coming back and doing it again, accented with a bit of palm muting before the punchy bass and drums bring the song to life. Maybe it was the chorus that drenched me in a wave of wonderful harmonizing melody, singing: “Nothing matters / Nothing's wrong / Nothing feels like anything today” and leaving me thinking, “Yeah, I know the exact feeling.” Or perhaps it was even the unexpected Springsteen-esque saxophone that helps close the song by adding a flawless layer of melody to the ending. It was probably the combination of all the aspects of that song, but what’s amazing is that the rest of the songs on the album are all just as good as the first, and some are even better.

Every track on Marriage is remarkable in some way, be it the clean, golden, and instantly memorable chords opening “Young Leaves” or the Na na na na’s of the chorus, or the clapping and drum rolls populating “Inches and Ages,” or even the crawling, meandering guitar strokes flowing through “If All I Thought Were True.” There are an unprecedented number of things happening in the songs and not one of them is out of place, gimmicky, or needless. Even the two painfully short piano pieces (painful because if they were longer they would have been incredible) that are added at the end of “Inches and Ages” and “Footprints” manage to feel appropriate, and add more character and charm to this disc.

The title track, “Marriage,” may be my favorite on the album thanks to the speed in comparison to most of the other songs and the soaring chorus that really brings it to the next level. Also worth noting about this song is something that I found to be almost bizarre, especially at the beginning, is that Romano’s vocals sound so similar to Smoke or Fire’s vocalist that if you’ve heard Smoke or Fire before, you will probably think he’s doing guest vocals.

The closer, “Chimes and Church Bells,” may be the sole song that feels like it doesn’t belong on the album because the traditional sounds of guitars, bass, and drums have been cut out. I’m not sure what’s being used in addition to the church organ (there’s no note in the credits of synthesizers or any such thing) but it definitely sounds out of place the first few times you listen. After a few listens of knowing what to expect, the track makes perfect sense and is one of the most powerful lyrically, perhaps even haunting.

Attack in Black came out of left field and totally blew me away in every possible respect with this record. It is far and away one of the best releases of 2007, and after listening to it for five months it seems like it might be even better now than the first time I listened. There is a significant amount of heart behind these songs that I think can be seen by anyone, regardless of whether you enjoy the music they play. Records like this remind me of how powerful music can be.

9.7 / 10Alex N.
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