Marvelous Mark - Crushin' (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Marvelous Mark

Crushin' (2016)

Drunken Sailor Records

The secret of power pop is to craft pop songs of intelligent, subversive songcraft and yet super dumb, catchy hooks. There are obviously exceptions to this (Big Star was clearly made up of depressed thinkers who slowly abandoned pop) but power pop has always held to this ideal. Marvelous Mark, the alias of Marvelous Darlings bandmate Mark Fosco, is sticking to the sticky melodies, but I think a little more subversion would improve this one. Crushin' is chock full of pleasant harmonies, layers of Teenage Fanclub power guitar (dig the bridge on "Stay A While"), and a mix of melancholy and joy, but it can get repetitive too. Fosco has a tendency to repeat the same chorus formula, with a single refrain given all the heft and not quite able to carry it, and that can grate on something like "Silhouettes" even at only four minutes.

Still his melodies are sweet and often impressive. The hushed ballad "Would You Believe," sung as if whispered under a bedsheet to a lover, is a highlight, as is "Sun Goes Down," which ends with a single whining note. There's a lot of latter day Wavves here in the slacker rock feel and Fosco's mildly adenoidal vocals, but without Williams' pure self loathing and contempt. Where Wavves' songs go down with a bong hit and a shot of whiskey, Marvelous Mark kinda wants you to just nod your head and grin. Sure there are self-hating songs like "Doin' Fine," but overall this is a guy who's just trying to enjoy the day.

Closer "Under The Rain" is arguably the best song here, ghostly Beach Boys vocals butting into a surprisingly heartbreaking acoustic song with a sing along chorus. Fosco has a genuine talent, and if he cuts down on emphasis on endless refrains (in film terms, show don't tell) he should do great. The world could always use a nice melody after all.