Marching Band - Pop Cycle
Record Label: U & L Records
Release Date: May 18th, 2010
No, it isn’t a bunch of teenagers decked out in matching uniforms parading all over your local football field. This Marching Band is actually a Swedish duo consisting of Erik Sunbring and Jacob Lind. They released their debut album, Spark Large, in 2008. The debut actually did the band well, landing them spots on various movies and TV shows like Zombieland, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Scrubs and How I met Your Mother. So how is their sophomore album? Does it live up to it’s predecessor?
How is it?
Pop Cycle follows in the same shoes as the album before it, an abstract indie pop dream child. Sunbring and Lind don’t follow your average hipsters when it comes to music. They use a wide array of instruments on this album and the diversity makes it stand out. Not every song is comparable and something new is constantly brought to the table, although you never feel overwhelmed. “Never Underestimate” is an indie pop gem that screams warm weather and sunshine. “It Is Hidden” sounds like a Beach Boys inspired groove that makes the band sound completely new and fresh, a change of pace from the other abstract tracks on the disc. “Everyman” closes out the disc with a full focused sound, featuring some fancy guitar work incorporated into a heavy piano line brought to a close with some impressive harmonies.
On paper, there isn’t really anything that should be appealing for Marching Band. A bland band name, abstract instrument arrangements, and not the most pristine vocals for their kind of music. But some how these Swedes make it work and do it damn well. Individually the songs on this album may not run completely coherent, but in the bigger scheme of things, the mood of the songs overtakes their lack of cohesiveness. The sophomore slump has been avoided but that doesn’t mean that Pop Cycle has made it through the ringer just yet. This album isn’t so far out there that casual music fans can’t appreciate it but it also has enough pop appeal to make your modern hipster turn his head. As long as there is a beat these Swedes will continue through the motions and defy what is the format for success and this so called pop cycle.