Marianas Trench, consisting of members Josh Ramsay, Matt Webb, Mike Ayley and Ian Casselman, released their fifth studio album "Phantoms" earlier this year, and it has left me speechless ever since. They never seem to fail to grow and get better as the years pass.
When talking about the album Ayley said, "The whole album is designed to have a slow-building tension to this long climax." Starting with the song Eleonora and ending with The Killing Kind the entire album tells a story. It truly is an album that has this slow build then hits you with this epic final song. All that accumulation of anticipation ends with this huge pay-off.
The album centers around this theme of the loss of a lover. The way their ghost can linger through memories and feelings. That it leaves behind this almost paranormal feel.
Let's break the album track by track to better understand the story.
Only around a minute long but delivering a goose bump rising start, "Eleonora" it's beautifully sung a capella style. It may be short by right off the bat you're hook and the intensity of the album has begun to build. Ramsay describes the song as being "the title of an Edgar Allen Poe story of someone visited by their deceased lover and being told they can move on."
They posted a video of them singing it in a stairwell which was absolutely beautiful if you ask me. You can find that on their Instagram page here.
"Eleonora speak/ It grows so quiet on widow's peak"
"Only The Lonely Survive"
Right after that first introduction song that nice and slow, they enter into "Only The Lonely Survive" which has you bopping to the music as soon as it starts. It grabs its spot among many of the band's pop anthems. The soul behind Josh Ramsay's voice, especially in the chorus, is amazing. I love the story of tragic love as well. "But I'd rather hurt here than be happy somewhere else." It's like saying that yeah, you'll probably break each other's hearts and it might be a mess, but it's worth it. I don't necessarily take it as unhappy.
"But I know/ A love like this will end in tragedy/ You know/ Every kiss suspendin' gravity/ Burns us both/ To love this close/ We lose ourselves/ And I know we won't get out alive/ But only the lonely survive."
"Echoes Of You" (Featuring Roger Manning Jr.)
This absolute banger of a song tells the story of the lingering of someone's presence. How it seems they're still there, still haunting you. Hearing voices and seeing faces that remind you of the person that you lost. The song is certainly a massive pop track that has you dancing along though.
"But stirs of whispers trail and linger/ You still haunt the corner of my eye/ The remnant faces fleeting traces of you/ Haunt the corner of my eye"
"Don't Miss Me?"
A nice mid-tempo song to slowly reel back in after the fast feel of "Echoes Of You." I like how the song is claiming not to miss someone, but you get the feeling it's not true. Singing, "You know it's not like I miss your laughter/ It's not like I miss your face/ You know it's not like I can't get past it." But then going into, "I'm just a drink away from honesty so who knows what's true." No matter what the point is here, it's good none the less. When I saw them in concert Josh mentions how this song almost didn't make it onto the album, but in the end, they pushed for it to be there.
"I tell myself that I, self that I, I can do/ Do with the space between, the space between me to you/ And I'm just a drink away from honesty so who knows what's true/ But I'm wondering, wondering, if maybe you/ You don't miss me too..."
"Wish You Were Here"
With verses to make you sway and a chorus that makes you dance this upbeat song holds on well. The title really says it all, wishing someone was there with you. There isn't too much more for me to add here.
"But when the night comes crawling in, comes crawling in/ Try not to fall, but there ain't no stopping it/ Here and now, I say it loud, I just wish that you were here/ But when the night comes crawling in, comes crawling in/ Try not to fall, but there ain't no stopping it/ Here and now, I say it loud, I just wish that you were here/ Yeah, I just wish you were here now"
This song really gets me bouncing sometimes with its chorus beat. I feel like this song is what generally gives you the album story, "It's like every time you vanish somehow you're still here/ You never seem to manage just to disappear." Always being haunted, that no matter where they go, the ghost of the person they lost is always there.
"I can't get myself together/ I've been running for forever from your ghost, ghost/ And I never need to wonder if I'll ever be from underneath your ghost, ghost/ You are just enough out of reach/ Just where I can see I won't give up your ghost/ I can leave this place forever/ But I know I'll never sever from your ghost"
The ballad of the album and an incredibly powerful song. There's a pain in the lyrics, but the song I feel is seeing that spark of hope. That glimmer or what you could be. This is one of my favorites from the album. The force behind the song and Josh's voice hits you right in the chest. Everything about this song is so well done and put together and really delivers. Plus the recently released music video is everything and more.
"I throw my head back, heart under attack/ Straight through the chest, like a thunderclap/ You can burn too bright, you can burn too bright to see/ With all the lights out, the shadow of a doubt/ It's funny what you find, when you go without/ So keep the lights down low, keep the lights down low to see"
"I Knew You When"
I got to be honest. When I first heard this song, I had a little bit of trouble liking it. The song itself is good, I enjoy the lyrics and the beat. My problem was the repeating of "you" in the chorus. It gave me a very overly played pop song feel. Like they were trying to fit into this mold that they aren't. However, after a few listens I started to open up more to it and felt it fit well and didn't ruin the overall integrity of the song.
I feel as though this song is kind of looking back on everything. Remembering moments from the past wondering how to move on. I particularly like, "I'm sure you're wondering/ Is this a new beginning or the start of another end/ But if you want to try again/ Honey, I'll know, I'll know, I'll know you then." I really like the reminiscing feel of the song and talking about how well you know someone. I like that the song is upbeat and has a dance feel to it as well.
"I've been loving, loving you too long/ To just sudden, suddenly move on from this/ (I knew you when, I, I knew you when)/ We shedded, shedded way too much/ To just let it, let it make a mess of us/ (I knew you when)/ I knew, I knew you when"
"The Death Of Me"
I take this song as trying to move on, but the ghost of the person lost won't let them. The vocal on this I feel is what really pushes the song over the top. Josh always seems to pour the emotions into the song.
I like the idea of how they want to move on and to be with someone else, but they can't. "I would give you, anything if/ I had anything to give left/ But the phantoms here will never have their fill/ I would tell you, I don't miss her/ Cries of love reduced to a whisper/ But the truth is that a ghost it haunts me still."
I really recommend listening to this song to get the full experience of the story, to feel the power behind the words.
"And you, no you don't deserve this/ And I, don't know how to work this but/ Before you go, before you go/ I just wanted you to know/ That I would, that I would/ I would love you if I could/ But my unsteady heart's not ready/ And you would only get what's left of me/ Only this, only this, is gonna be the death of me"
"The Killing Kind"
I can't even begin to describe how in love with this song I am. You've waited through the whole album for this moment and it doesn't let you down. There's just so much going on and it just explodes with this absolute masterpiece of a song. They go from just guitar and vocals to the whole band and a string section and then an a cappella stop looping back to "Eleonora" before blowing up at the end making me want to scream at the top of my lungs.
I love the creepy feel it gives off in the beginning too with just those simple guitar strings. I can't even begin to explain the entirety of this song. This one is something you have to listen to yourself to get the message.
I honestly have no idea what lyric to even pick because the whole song, every verse, just speaks differently and perfectly. I suppose we'll stick with the chorus.
"What if I was wrong by never moving on/ I didn't realize who's gone/ The ghost in me was true but/ You were haunted too/ Just didn't see it all along/ Never more to leave here/ Never more to leave here/ You should never be here/ I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know my love can be/ The killing kind"
The band has always had this go big or go home feel and this album just proves that. I feel that with every album that put out they put more and more into. They aren't afraid to explore and try new things. Check them out and give them a try. Most people I have introduced them too have really enjoyed the music, or have picked out particular songs they've enjoyed.
They're always telling new stories through their songs and videos and I personally love that. I love when something has meaning behind it.