The Marsupials The Marsupials EP (self-released)
The ideal format for punk rock isn’t the CD or the MP3. Nor is it the cassette. It’s not even the vinyl LP. It’s the 7-inch, 45-RPM single. Punk’s ethos is all about playing loud, fast and with total reckless abandon, after all. So, if you can compress that energy, noise and anarchy into a 10-minute format, all the better. That’s why The Buzzcocks’ best album is a compilation of their late-’70s singles, and why a Seattle record store of the same name (Singles Going Steady) dedicated its entire space to punk 7-inches.
San Diego noise punks The Marsupials have this figured out. Their new, self-titled EP contains four brutal, ass-kicking selections of sweaty post-hardcore all contained within the limited space of a 45. And not a centimeter is wasted.
The Marsupials—a four-piece that plays a raucous noise-rock style in the vein of Chicago’s pig fuck pioneers The Jesus Lizard or Philadelphia’s Pissed Jeans—simply don’t fuck around. They’ve got the requisite speed and volume that a good punk band needs, of course, but there’s an added layer of burly intensity that gives their sound an added punch to the gut.
A substantial dose of that gut punch comes from the band’s rhythm section—bassist James Armbrust and drummer Darrin Lee—who wallop the listener with a percussive assault that’s likely to leave a few bruises. Guitarist David Robles offers a churning, high-end counterpoint to the bass-y rumble, going for a fierce power-chord chug on “Kick ’n’ Dangle” and squealing higher on the fret board on “Black Cloud.” And Douglas Thompson, part David Yow and part Glenn Danzig (in voice, not appearance), has a raspy bellow that only enhances the band’s aggression, not to mention a highly entertaining stage presence.
When the band settles into a groove, as it does on first track “Igloo,” the result is simultaneously catchy and abrasive. Yet when that groove turns into a more menacingly unhinged melodic screech, as on “Black Cloud,” The Marsupials show off even more range, not just in their stylistic approach but also in the amount of damage they’re likely to cause. With only four tracks on one brief EP, The Marsupials create an impressive amount of wreckage. God only knows what kind of rubble could be wrought from an entire album’s worth of this musical ammo.