The days of colourful riffs and pop melodies infused with hearty rock and roll seemed all but gone in recent years. Enter Life As Mary – a band who brilliantly fuse indie rock rhythms and grit with immediately infectious, likable songwriting. The Aaron Session stands at only four tracks long, but they’re the chosen few – each shining with enjoyable brightness.
Standing on your Sideline is a great tune, a song that feels fit for the soundtrack to some new indie flick or series – even a long-lost show from a simpler decade. There’s a great sense of energy to the track, the meeting between distortion and lightness works naturally, and those vocals carry this melody and story-line in an instantly accessible and refreshingly unique way. On occasion you may hear a hint of anything from punk rock to the more alternative rock and pop acts of the past thirty years. Quite quickly though, you hear only Life As Mary.
King For A Day is a slightly more mellow, warmer track with a lower string of notes and a deeper tone in general. Bands from the nineties really come to mind here – the story-telling, the details, the rhyme scheme and these short verse lines; even the cut to the chorus has a certain uplifting, nostalgic calm about it. At the same time, the concept reaches out to connect with the lost or frustrated out there – those who turn to music for escapism or some sort of comforting volume that drowns out the noise of modern life. Great guitar solos really top this off well.
The mood changes again for the piano-led gentleness of Orange Crush. A ballad-like aura emerges, the vocals seem softer – more up-front and intimate, suiting the quieter vibe well. This soon becomes an easily recognisable song, even after hearing it only once. The structuring and set-up have hints of synth-pop-style creativity, though the personality showcased throughout the vocal performance stays true to that now-familiar Life As Mary sound.
The playlist feels all too short in some ways, but the positive is that you never tire of the sound – on the contrary, you’re likely to seek out a live show from the band; this is where these songs and their honesty will most probably connect to an even greater extent.
Love Is a Sad Affinity brings the collection to a close with one of the most striking and characterful songs yet. The melody meanders with absolute freedom, an unpredictable hook follows a mildly quirky and quite addictive verse. The development of this song is easy to listen to on repeat – this long-form melody and the gradual progression of the story-line have a captivating quality that’s likely to stand the test of time in terms of its unique and interesting appeal. A great way to finish and a personal highlight from the whole EP.
Musically there’s a superior and experienced nature to the playing and unity presented throughout this EP, and the clarity is a pleasure to witness – the vast majority of synth or indie-pop releases lately come soaked in reverb and effects that somewhat prevent a real connection with the artists and the ideas expressed. In this case, realness is inherent in the sound – that organic, genuine performance style has been captured perfectly well. Absolutely worth a listen at volume and I wish the band all the best as 2019 kicks into gear.