Marlin’s Dreaming’s was formed in 2017 here in Otepoti, and their Lizard Tears debut defined an airy post-demarco sound that struck a chord with indie music lovers looking for a bit of laid-back melancholy.
Now with their third album, Hasten, they’ve taken the sound they established on Lizard Tears and evolved on last year’s Daily, and peeled off the layers, exposing a raw, fragile core.
“It was mostly kind of me in my bedroom writing about my acoustics after work at home and then we would take him to the Chick’s Hotel and kind of jam the songs and everything,” says singer Semisi. Maiai.
âA lot of it was based on everyday ramblings really, I would come home from work and eat something, then go straight to my room and jump on the acoustics.
“Kind of, I guess, a stream of consciousness stuff that I had encountered at the cafe that day.”
One of the most striking things about Hasten is the production. Where Quotidian was blanketed in a misty down, Hasten is face-to-face clarity and intimacy.
It is as if a veil has been lifted. The guitar sounds are almost entirely crisp (no more wet chorus that defines the post-demarco genre), and the use of effects is restricted.
“I guess it’s just a steady progression of the sound for us, since I was 19 when Marlin’s Dreaming started. I’m now 24 …” explains Semisi.
âIt’s been like four or five years of a lot of changes for me, like moving cities and coming back here, going overseas and then coming back here. It just opened up a lot of influences to me.
âI guess there’s like a serious one, and it’s pretty immediate and looks pretty determined, I get the impression.
âTom Bell who mixed it, he did a really good job translating our take on the music and the way we wanted it to sound, and he’s more of the intimate vocal style kind of, so he pushed. a lot of visceral stuff with the vocals, like a lot of breathing and it feels like it’s pretty close. He really looked into that. “
Nowhere is this more apparent than on the last track Lumia.
On Lumia, it’s just Semisi and his guitar, a first on an album for him. It’s a beautiful song, and the production serves the song rather than distracts it, with a subtly layered reverb elevating the key moments.
“It’s funny because most of the time the songs are written like that, but we often develop them in the jam space with the band, and keep the ideas going in that live setting.
“So for Lumia it was just a demo I wrote in my room during the lockdown and instead of taking her into the group space we ended up using this demo I recorded with a rather detuned guitar that I plugged into the interface in my laptop, and a few layered vocals recorded very quickly with very poor recording equipment and techniques.
“But Tom just mixed it up and it sounded good, and it definitely gave him a different feeling than a lot of the other songs on the album, which I think I’ve always enjoyed, the variety on a record.”
It’s a shame that foreign fans of the band are probably waiting for a tour because this kind of record deserves to be experienced live. Even here in New Zealand things are still a bit on the back burner, with tour dates shifted as the outbreak continues.
The Marlins also feel frustration.
âWe were really looking forward to going to Australia and Europe at one point, but I guess we’ll just have to see that all goes well.
âI think it’s been pretty tough for a lot of bands. I mean there are bands that depend on touring for their income, and they all quit their jobs and took a big step forward, so I’m pretty Luckily, we hadn’t really gotten to where the band was our full-time thing, so I work in a cafe, and everyone has other jobs.
“But it’s been really tough, I guess the spirits are going down a bit in terms of what you’re capable of doing and you can’t just be like we’re just going to play a show here.”
“Marlin’s Dreaming – Hasten Album Release Tour”, Friday October 8 at Dive. $ 35.
– Fraser Thompson