The Marine Electric - Restrained Joy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Marine Electric

Restrained Joy (2012)

Insrgnt / Unbuckled

The Marine Electric have been churning out raw, melodic punk-fueled emo for a few years now, but on Restrained Joy, they're starting to really get a sense of their strengths. Their first full-length feels a little more thoughtful, dynamic and stylistically flexible than prior material (demo, 7", self-titled EP).

Comparison-wise, take Small Brown Bike's Our Own Wars as a starting point, then slow it down, thin it out a bit and add the earnest vocals and (however toned down here) noodly guitars of most any modern emo revival prototype (I'm thinking You Blew It! in tME's case). That's kind of the Marine Electric's deal in a vague nutshell. "Street Guitar" starts with a sluggishly fast beat before bringing the whole thing down a bit with some half-time, head-bobbing, gruff melodies. "Pretty Good Day to Be Alive" serves as a brief preamble to standout "Sea Fever," which sports one of the record's sneakier hooks and a catchy, semi-complex guitar interplay vaguely harkening to some middle ground between Braid and old At the Drive-In. "Ride It Out" gets a definite nod as one of the hookier songs here, too.

The potential for more serious growth is shown in moments like that aforementioned track, "Sea Fever," and the 4:31 centerpiece, "Live Oak," which builds with an intense, scream-laced bridge of atmosphere and dissonance before being gutted out with quiet feedback and subtle guitar screeching. It's pretty great, and it's cool to think where they could take darker styles like that. Their bread and butter for now seems to be the more playful, uptempo jib of cuts like "Silver for Lead," though.

The aptly titled Restrained Joy marks a couple artistic steps forward for these Brooklyn-based dudes. Given time, moments show they could really do some damage.

Restrained Joy