27/07/19 - Margins of Society - On the Edge
Margins of Society is an American five-piece rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. Formed in 2011 they describe their sound as ‘alterna-gressive’. To date they have released three studio albums: Marginal at Best in 2013, Disconnected in 2015, and most recently On the Edge back in February of this year. It is this most recent effort that I am going to delve into today. Having never heard these guys before I have no idea what to expect but they come to me very highly recommended.
The album opens with a funky bass line that remains a constant throughout first track “Till It’s Over”. There is a stark contrast between the clean vocal, groove laden verses and heavy distorted pre-chorus/choruses. And following an eerie guitar harmony filled bridge the rest of the song takes a on darker feel which is great. A worthy successor, second track “Wanna Be” continues in much the same vein albeit with a Living Colour “Cult of Personality” vibe thanks to the stop/start guitar riff and clean vocals during the verse. The chorus is packed with vocal harmonies and Nick Smith’s bass driven break at about two thirds of the way through the song builds up nicely into a full riff section and impressive guitar solo.
“Why I Do” begins with a more modern sounding chugging intro/riff overdubbed with by vocalist Trevor Houck’s keen sense of melody. At the chorus he even manages to sing a duet with himself. The sinister sounding riff change part way through works well, reflecting the “spiralling down” mentioned in the lyrics earlier on. Bookending the final reprise of the chorus are guitar riffs laden with perfectly executed guitar harmonics. “Picture” on the other hand is far more straightforward, opening with bass and drums only and following an almost disco beat. The track is less heavy than the ones before until around the mid-point when it takes on a more funk feel. The melody from the first half of the track returns though the rhythm backing remains heavy. Following some brutal stabbed chords “Let it Slide” is in part reminiscent of White Zombie before featuring some almost choir-like vocals. This track is primarily vocal driven with all the other instruments taking a back seat except for when guitarists Scott Shackelford and Marc Weaver reprise the intro/main riff between the verses.
Getting onto the second half of the album, “Rookie” at first shows the bands softer side with an acoustic guitar intro and more of an indie rock style. However, the second verse plays host to some double tracked vocals and the chorus develops into a post-grunge style akin to Pearl Jam. The track is also reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins in places, particularly the section straight after each chorus. The song comes to a close with some superb drum fills courtesy of Greg Harman and ends with and acoustic final verse and outro bringing the track full circle. “Vatten K” opens with the sounds of the tide coming in and there is prolonged steady build-up over the course of the song towards some dramatic chords. The final verse and chorus take on a different feel again with a solid hard rock rhythm and outro guitar solo. This is a great transition from the softer tracks back into the band’s heaviness prominent earlier.
Penultimate song “Reason” begins with guitar and features some clever use of delayed guitar in first verse. There is a return to the riff-driven sections of the first half of the album with a palm-muted pre-chorus and melodic chorus. Another highlight of the album is the excellent double guitar solo featured here. The song ends with a final chorus and abrupt half verse and is probably my second favourite after “Wanna Be”. And finally, “You and Me” brings the album to a close with an 80’s arena rock feel, some heavy effects on lead guitar and a twin guitar harmony following the vocal melody mid-way through. This song really shows off the Trevor’s impressive vocal range and the outro brings a satisfying heavy finale. My only criticism of the track, and indeed the whole album, is the drum/bass beat after the final note. Should have ended on the big finish that was featured moments earlier, but that’s just my opinion. That said, this doesn’t detract from what is a solid closing track and a thoroughly enjoyable album.
On the Edge is packed to the gills with a whole range of different rock sub-genres. I have discovered new and exciting elements each time I have played it through to the end which is simply marvellous. Just how music should be.
On the Edge is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below: