There’s a song off the latest Hey Marseilles album that’s been floating around in my head for awhile, probably for about six weeks, ever since I first heard it in a rather serendipitous Spotify browsing session. The song is called “West Coast,” and I heard it the first day I woke up in my new home in California.
So maybe part of me will always love this song, because I hear it now and I am flooded with the memories of feeling free, flushed and happy, feeling so enamored and invigorated by new surroundings. As a piece of indie folk rock in 2016, it’s a great lead single from a band whose is reliably heartfelt and musically interesting.
Their most recent album — a self-titled release — has a few hints of electropop but still spotlights their chamber-pop strings: here we have cellos and violins and mandolins and perhaps some slightly Eastern-sounding instrument that I can’t quite name. It’s a really lovely little listen, calming and soothing and good for pondering. The album is at its best when tempos stay in a slow to mid range, bringing a sense of patience that is somewhat out of style in an era of frenzied, over-produced radio tracks or sprawling hipster noise rock.
Opening track “Eyes on You” is a fun take on the same old dance, it’s a song with a lot sections and rhythms. I like the way it resists its own momentum, the way the rhythm drops out in the bridge before the entry of a melodic and flowing piano. Their cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” (my favorite Bowie song, as it were) is a techy take and plays around with the solos in an interesting fashion, though it’s singer Matt Bishop’s yearning drawl that gives the track a spine. But it’s “West Coast” that I can’t quite shake, a song that travels from coast to coast and still explores, a song that’s about living in the moment while gazing at the future in the horizon. It’s a beautiful song, and I’m grateful I have reason to remember it.
“Meet me on the west coast,
with the salt air, breathe slow.
Go out to the unknown,
we’ll make it our own.
Meet me on the west coast.”
Hey Marseilles, Hey Marseilles