Marriages – “Salome” Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez



Anyone that was followed my music preferences in the last year will know how much I loved Emma Ruth Rundle’s album Some Heavy Ocean. The dynamics were fantastic, enveloping all of her emotions in a swirling atmosphere of guitars and string instruments. Although simplistic with her melodies, there was plenty of ambiance to go add depth to her emotional ocean. A year later we find her back with the post-rock outfit Marriages, a three piece band out of California. Salome, available April 7th, is the band’s debut full length, marking not only their presence within the music scene but a sound that is entirely unique. 

Opening track ‘The Liar’ is dark, but it has guitars that leave the listener in a trance with their phase and pitch shifts. The chorus showcases walls of distortion and Rundle’s vocals that seem to morph between breathy yells and soft whispers. Throughout all these songs, the bass will ride the surface of the mix and provide the foundation for the guitars to do whatever it is they are doing, like in the middle of ‘Skin’ where the guitars seem to have no solidarity, just bright sounds swirling around the mix. The next song, ‘Santa Sangre,’ showcases a complete opposite appeal between the instruments, staying more tightly wound and building upon their own melodies. The ending of this track builds up with Rundle’s voice growing in presence until the climax happens and her voice floats in desperation above a beautiful post-rock melody.

How rude of me not to talk about the drums, but this next shift in the album showcases the ability of Andrew Clinco.  ‘Southern Eyes’ and ‘Binge’ are the perfect track to highlight their strength in keeping every song together. The tom rolls in the verse of the former are vivacious, especially in a track where the bass and guitars are keeping relatively somber. The latter track has a snare drum that establishes a pattern on the snare that is hypnotic. ‘Binge’ is one of my personal favorites because of the indeterminate shape of Rundle’s vocals, at first whimpering before exploding into urgent yells.

‘Salome’ is a moody track doused in reverb and echoes. The mix feels as if the band is playing in a cave, allowing for the natural acoustics of the dark cavern to either highlight or hide all of the instruments, especially Rundle’s vocals. It is one of those songs that grabs the listener with it’s ominous presence, letting them feel the weight of what they are cathartically letting out. ‘Less Than’ is where Marriages takes their to a new level of depth sonically, adding darker textures in the chorus, with Rundle’s voice having a pit of a pissed off nature. Another song I highly recommend, the lyrics discuss dreaming of golden places while also dreaming of dying. 

‘Love, Texas’ is best remembered by the constant groove it belts out as Rundle bellows along. The song grows in space as it comes to a close. ‘Contender’ is the closing track, giving off a grungy atmosphere with the chord progression casually continuing on and on, mesmerizing and temperamental. What first caught me about this song was the entire time I was waiting for a build up and then an explosion of sound, bringing the sluggish pace to an affirmed conclusion. What I received instead was a seemingly spontaneous fade out with deconstructed chord that spirals around the mix, ending abruptly. I either felt cheated or wanting more, so I replayed Salome six times and wrote this review about it. All hail Marriages.