I have a weird obsession with bands from New Jersey. The tiny state seems to churn out incredible acts year after year with a scene that just refuses to die. Of course, what comes to mind are The Misfits, Bouncing Souls, Leathermouth, and most recently Lost In Society. There is a never-ending list of bands that live and love in New Jersey and over the past couple of months, The Barren Marys have caught my attention.
Read the full review below the cut.
Hailing from south Jersey, The Barren Marys have been generating some buzz as the loveable local punk band. Consisting of lead singer and guitarist John, bassist Christine, and drummer Corey, Philly punk fiends are falling hopelessly in love with The Barren Marys, opening their ears to the band’s need for speed and witty lyrics. The band released their self-titled record last October and it’s about damn time I write an album review for it. It’s more than worth checking out.
The record begins with a 17 second piano piece that’s reminiscent of my golden years sitting in church and hating my life, and I think that was the purpose of it. It quickly runs head on into “Philly”, the first single on the album. This track is fucking glorious. The bass line gets me every time, which is driving and relentless, and it’s on par with the bass work that bands like Rancid are known for. I’m a total sucker for all the ohh’s and whoa’s and the hey’s that one would expect in a punk song. It was the perfect choice for a first single – this song is addictive.
“DIY” starts with a frantic guitar lick and doesn’t quit throughout. It clocks in at just over a minute and the gang vocals scare me in a good way, getting louder and louder as the track progresses. There’s a brief guitar solo that is just the sickest, and the song ends in a frenzy of vocals and bass riffs. “Wanna” is a bit low-key, and it’s a nice transition from the chaos that is “DIY”. It’s the band’s second single on this record and it has more of a pop punk feel, lead by Corey’s hard-hitting and consistent drum work. The track breaks down mid way and eases into a solo, building back up into the chorus. Finally, it shines when the gang vocals clamber together at the end.
“Peter Criss” is my favorite track on this album. It’s more of an indie/alternative track chock full of melody and harmony. It’s a bit of a departure from the other tracks on this album, but it somehow still stands strong amongst the other punk rock fueled songs. “Catholic Guilt” is fucking furious, straight up punk rock. It has a street punk feel, but with incredible bass work. Any song detailing the trials and tribulations of growing up catholic is right up my alley – this song is so much fun to listen to.
“Sober” chronicles the band’s grasp of melody and it could pass for a nod to the Descendents. The song pauses to let John’s vocals take the spotlight, and then jumps right back into the fantastic instrumental work. This track could have also been a great choice as a single – it’s accessible to people who aren’t punk fans. As a side-note, the band made a video for this song with just an iPhone and it’s really a treat to watch.
The next track brings out the best of The Barren Mary’s instrumentally. “Take My Eyes” is easy to love and the lyrics will get stuck in your head in the best way possible. I sound like I’m repeating myself, but I physically can’t shut up about the bass work on this album – it’s just so melody-driven and interesting to listen to, and it’s ever more apparent on this track. The gang vocals soar over the chorus and the track ends cleanly. Finally, the last song is “Uncle Fester”. It has catchy lyrics and an addictive guitar solo that tears through the track with gusto. You’ll be singing this song all day as soon as you hear it. The tail end of it is topped off with piano and cheers, laughing, and the clinking of glasses.
The Barren Marys are a confident band, and they should be. This self-titled release is a shout out to their influences, but it has originality and depth that I think is sometimes hard to find on a lot of punk records these days. Their handle on melody is spot on, but it’s well balanced with an appetite for chaos and frenzy.
Add The Barren Marys to My Radar