Click to hear: “Message From Limbo”
Trust is the debut six-song EP by the Portland indie-rock foursome Marie Stella. It’s a swift and satisfying collection of power-pop tunes set against a backdrop of fun, noisy guitar-rock.
The EP opens with its strongest cut, “Message From Limbo,” a spirited and feedback-laden rocker. Singer and bassist Sydney Bourke’s catchy, unsettling chorus insists, “You have to trust me / I’ve been terribly unlucky.” It’s a line that’ll stick with you, and the music really holds it up.
The dual guitars of Bryan Bruchman (the local photographer and Hilly Town music blogger) and Matthew Erickson are laid on thick. Their approach recalls the style of players like Thurston Moore and Ira Kaplan. The drumming, by Derek Gierhan (Haru Bangs, Lapsed Axis), is outstanding throughout. (Marie Stella apparently goes through drummers like Spinal Tap, Gierhan being the third; Max Heinz plays with them at present.)
The next track, “Lonely is Better,” could have been a Gin Blossoms hit back in the day. I mean that in a good way. “1985” kills it for the first two minutes, but lulls during a bridge that could have been skipped over.
Bourke (formerly of the indie ’80s-pop project Satellite Lot) can sound bottom-of-the-honey-barrel saccharine, which works on tracks like “Limbo,” where her tone balances the song’s raucous tenor. Overall, though, Trust would benefit if the vocals got the same rough treatment the rest of band’s sound has. Some Sleater-Kinney–style wailing or a little distortion would make the material more cohesive.
Trust’s second-best track is the closer, “Taken.” It builds from some delayed guitar noodling to a punked-out, thrashy jam that could have gone on about twice as long is it does.
Marie Stella has energy and chops to spare. I say throw a few of the songs in the mud, let ’em roll around, and see what emerges.
— Tyler Jackson
Marie Stella plays a CD release show on Sat., June 12, with Dead Man’s Clothes and The Art of Shooting, at Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland, at 8 p.m. Tix: $5 (see baysidebowl.com for age-limit info). mariestella.tumblr.com.