El Toro - May and Marielle (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

El Toro

May and Marielle (2005)


Let's face it: A sense of accessibility often takes away from the like-ability of a band. But in some very rare cases, a band will come along that, while accessible, is also so simplistically appealing that it will overshadow the lack of "pizzaz" it encompasses. This is the case with an album from a little band who finds home on Undecided Records, El Toro. May and Marielle, El Toro's debut full-length, put simply, is a pop album with indiscreet indie rock influences.

May and Marielle's most exceptional, standout song lies within the third track in "Bouncing Ball" and its seven minutes of pure catchy delivery. Had the album contained more tracks in the likes of "Bouncing Ball," the album would definitely portray a more mature, developed band.

Where does El Toro go wrong, then? "You Will Write" opens as a tolerable, mellow track, until all of a sudden an almost-forty second drum solo completely throws the song off track. And while off track, Senses Fail-sounding screams are incorporated in the background, leading the song further and further away from the once easy-listening song. The screams come back to haunt the album in its seventh track, "Beauty and Romance."

Even after the sudden appearance of under-developed screams, El Toro somewhat redeem themselves with "My Sweet Love," a song that originates with rhythmic clapping and "Far Away," a track that clearly borrows from the vocals that make Gatsbys American Dream so engrossing.

All in all, for what it is, May and Marielle is a good, emotionally-charged pop album. However, had they concentrated a bit more on their influences (Sunny Day Real Estate, the Appleseed Cast, Pedro the Lion), the product surely would have been more efficient.

The Sirens
Figure It Out