The Vancouver pop-punk band Marianas Trench has been developing and evolving their sound since they started – even going as far as making their second album, Masterpiece Theatre, a concept album. The new one, Ever After, is another concept album, but it shows a band taking things to the next level with multi-tracked vocals, catchy lyrics and a well thought out songs. The result is an album jammed with creativity and enough pop ingenuity to make Ever After an album highlight from 2012.
I tend to think of Ever After as the album that I wish American Idol star Adam Lambert had made instead of his dance/disco For Your Entertainment release. It shows a good rock band that wants to expand its sound to include stellar harmonies and more moody moments, while still creating enough pop moments to become concert staples and radio hits.
This doesn’t take away from the fact that Marianas Trench are Canadian hit makers, period. Ever After already features the hits Haven’t Had Enough and Fallout, with more to come I’m sure.
Ever After tells the story of a man who wakes up in a strange land in front of a toy factory and meets the King of this new land. The king's adopted daughter, Porcelain, is locked in a tower with her heart locked away in a box by the evil Queen. The box also holds the character's way home. It has all the elements of a classic fairy tale, wrapped up in one neat little tale.
The music is not as heavy as other pop-punk bands (although there are moments, especially in No Place Like Home), but that label alone is pretty narrow for this release. Similar to another BC band Hedley, Marianas Trench have developed a sound that relies more on well crafted songs and powerful vocals than it does punk angst. And as listeners, we’re better off for it. My God, I’d hate to hear a punked-out version of Toy Soldiers – I much prefer the layered textures and emotions found on the album. It's a style that worked very well for Queen, a band which this album resembles at times.
Josh Ramsay has a remarkable voice that leads a pretty cool concept album. And concept albums are hard to make – just ask KISS about The Elder. Not everyone can make something as amazing as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but Ever After is a good try. I hope we’ll get the chance to see a full Marianas Trench tour this year with the concept re-enacted – that would be a sight to see.