Artist Spotlight: Marianas Trench

By Madyson McGill

I’m writing this to shine a spotlight on Marianas Trench. No, not the deep black void in the ocean but the band. I’ll be honest, I’ve fallen in and out of love with this band. They got me through my high school angst faze, and have found a spot in the dark depths of my music playlist later on. Years later, I had almost forgotten completely about them until I turned on the radio one day and heard their single “One Love.” I had forgotten how creative and unique their sound was. Now, here I am hooked once again.

Marianas Trench is composed of four members: Bass guitarist Mike Ayley, lead guitarist Matt Webb, Drummer Ian Casselman, and unique vocalist Josh Ramsay. They hail from beautiful Vancouver, and have been releasing music for nearly a decade. Marianas Trench came together in 2001, and has released approximately four studio albums, two EPs, and four singles not heard on the albums.

The band made their full-length debut in 2006 with Fix Me. The track list has a majority of songs that feature an upbeat rock-and-roll sound. However, the meaning behind the songs are far from upbeat and cheery. They touch on Ramsay’s battles with self-harm, depression, heroin addiction, and an eating disorder. The songs “Skin and Bones” and “Say Anything” are two of my personal favorites because they’re filled with so much raw emotion, and are so powerful.

Thankfully, this band didn’t experience a sophomore slump; their second studio album, Masterpiece Theater, is a work of theatrical genius. They take a step back from the intense punk rock sound and incorporate strings and other instrumental theatrics. Three songs on the album share the album’s name: “Masterpiece Theater I,” “Masterpiece Theater II,” and “Masterpiece Theater III.” “Masterpiece Theater III” lets listeners experience various genres in one song, combining all the songs from the album into one triumphant conclusion.

The quality of these records make me wonder why this band hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves, especially since those are only the first two albums. Their third studio album, Ever After, is also extraordinary. The whole album is an elaborate story about a kingdom overthrown by an evil queen, who is taking steps to restore it to its original glory. Much like the album it follows, it uses theatrical qualities and, much like the conclusion to Masterpiece Theater, the concluding song “No Place Like Home” combines all the other songs together beautifully.

After releasing Ever After in 2011, the band kind of fell off the map until late 2015, when they released their fourth album, titled Astoria. One look at the album cover art and one can see it is heavily inspired by the 1985 classic film The Goonies. This is another story following the ups and downs of a dying relationship. Ramsay includes four instrumental pieces on the album to show the passage of time between tracks. They added a little shout-outs to longtime fans by interweaving titles and short snippets of past songs into the album.

Overall, Marianas Trench is a highly underrated band who deserve praise for their musical genius and for contributing more than just run-of-the-mill songs we hear on the radio. With all of that said, it’s hard to believe Ramsay was the one who wrote Carly Rae Jepson’s hit “Call Me Maybe.”