Band Marino - The Sea & the Beast (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Band Marino

The Sea & the Beast (2006)

Street Parade

Sometimes an album can be almost mystifying not only due to its sheer diversity, but also by pulling off this vast range of styles while somehow remaining a united, cohesive whole. Band Marino's The Sea & the Beast manages to do this over the course of 11 songs, mixing indie, folk, bluegrass, rock, pop, and more without ever coming off as a chaotic mix tape.

While comparisons to artists such as the Decemberists, Murder by Death or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! could be made, they are hardly fair as the band has an extremely unique sound that draws as much from old-fashioned roots and folk as it does from an indie hipster's playlist (just listen to the Dylan-esque warbling of "What wouldja say if it happened to huyyooou?" on "Elephants Are Grey").

The band's arrangements are an eclectic mix of instruments, incorporating mandolins and banjos along with more standard devices, which combined with Nathan Bond's unique vocal delivery and narrative lyrics pack a potent punch. As you listen to the fast-paced, danceable, sea-faring adventure "Arlee Hayes" transition effortlessly into the slow, menacing "Someday We All Must Die," you'll wonder how Band Marino makes it sound so easy. Add in the beautiful folk on songs such as "Chasing Rainbows," a tune that sounds straight out of an early-`60s Disney musical, or the oddly-titled-yet-extremely-rocking track "Como Se Dice Senorita Act I: The Layman's Lament," and it is quickly apparent that this is no ordinary debut album.

The Sea & the Beast manages to be quirky without being embarrassing, varied without sounding muddled, and cultured without seeming pretentious. It is an accomplishment that any band could be proud of, and hopefully is simply the first chapter in a long and prosperous career.