Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Jamming with kangaroos and such

July 15, 2009

The first thing one must consider when listening to Genus Thylacinus by MarsupiaL (with a capital L), is that this is a bona fide jam band. Out of Asheville, NC, MarsupiaL’s sound mixes progressive rock with southern rock and a taste of jazz. What results is a very winding and mellow type of music, like the rock equivalent of a babbling brook. This quartet’s sound is just plain laid-back and unobtrusive. They’re not flashy, but that doesn’t mean there’s not talent here. Quite the contrary, there is a strongly prevalent degree of musicianship at work that is sometimes hard to find in a band, even with several releases under their belts (let’s face it: some bands just aren’t that good at what they do).

The eight song album goes by relatively fast, even when all but two of the songs clock in at over four minutes. Track one is just shy of nine minutes, while track three comes close to ten minutes, which goes to show that the band likes to meander about in the songs that they play. I actually thought that track one, “Lead On,” was two different songs until it reprised into its chorus at the end.

This is an album perfect for sitting around with friends on a summer night while kicking back a few beers. I’m not saying that it’s only good as background music, but it’s just very “chill,” so to speak. It has a sort of Frank Zappa-ish vibe to it, and feels very much like one of the classic rock jam bands of years gone by. This kind of music simply isn’t seen as much any more, and that’s a shame, because these guys have a lot of talent.

While this isn’t something I would play religiously, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good jam band. The first track, “Lead On,” is especially fun, with some great guitar solos. The southern rock feel of “The Man Who Knows Things” makes it stand out well from the rest of the album. I definitely wouldn’t mind listening to some more MarsupiaL.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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