In the Marshes
Words on Music
With most of Words on Music’s slow but steady reissuing of American dream pop band For Against’s long out-of-print catalog having already crossed my review pile, In the Marshes comes as somewhat of a revelation. Written and recorded early in the band’s career, the EP’s ominous and highly textured sound seems out of place with most of their mid-’80s post-punk contemporaries. The group — over the course of the original six songs which make up the disc — lay ground work for dark disco beats wrought from clashing metallics, frosty and aloof synths, warm electronic fills, heavy and melodic rhythm sections, and sparse guitar leads. In doing so they practically predict modern indie rock from Interpol through The Knife and every other guitar/synth driven band that’s hung a gloomy pall on their melodicism, or opted to eschew pop hooks completely for the droning bliss of shoegaze. It’s odd and unfortunate that subsequent releases saw the band head back toward an admirable interpretation of the straight and narrow, but this short-lived aside is definitely killer punctuation in a woefully overlooked career.
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