The New Zealanders strive for loftier heights on their sophomore album.
Marlin’s Dreaming may not be a mainstay in the UK’s music press. With several sold-out tours of their home continent under their belt and a handful of consistent releases, however, it feels as if this is a band on the cusp of promotion into the next league of public consciousness.
One can only assume that the album title ‘Quotidian’ (meaning mundane, or everyday) has been selected with a hint of irony. The LP sees the band embracing their more surreal and psychedelic influences. Vocals sound more full and lofty than before and album track ‘Mr.Sun’ could have been recovered directly from Syd Barrett’s dream journal.
Whether Marlin’s Dreaming realise it or not, this is exactly what the Western listener seems to search for in their Australasian imports; broad soundscapes and sideways views. Two part track ‘OUTRISTIC’ delivers this in abundance. With Pt.I meandering at a dignified lounge-Indie, before Pt.II removed all perimeters with duelling guitars and a repeated group chorus.
Recent single ‘Alike’ sees frontman Semisi Maiai showing flashes of his hypnagogic songwriting; adopting two voices throughout its verses.
“I wanted to personify two different characters,” Maiai explains. “The bleating high pitched character, and the dark, arrogant character. Both characters are people in my life that… I guess piss me off enough that one day I decided to write about them; or should I say write for them.”
Album track ‘Filling in Time’ has come into its own with more relevance than the band could have imagined when writing the release. “This is how we die slowly,” an exasperated Maiai exclaims, ‘..Suffocating, stuck inside like this.’
Where 2018’s Talk On/Commic EP began to build sonic bridges between Marlin’s Dreaming and their continent cohorts Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, the expanse of this release has defiantly turned away from anything that one my consider jangly pub-rock.
Quotidian may miss this sense of grit at times. What this sophomore offers in its place, however, is spectacle, more surreal and elevated in every sense.
From the abstract lyrics of ‘Lick The Brains’, to the the dreamy melodies of ‘Colourful Disarray’; Marlin’s Dreaming are perpetuating their continent’s run of albums that simply could not have come from anywhere else.