The Marches’ 4 A.M. Is The New Midnight is a hodgepodge menagerie, a Motown inspired electro-endeavor full of false starts and fledgling dance cuts. L.A.’s The Marches prove a bedroom affair in extremis, having recorded their debut album entirely in the homes of friends and family on mostly borrowed equipment and instruments. Brainchild Richard Conti, aside from being a classically trained pianist, culls irreverently from the coffers of disparate influences in what ultimately comprises, if not a cohesive whole, at least a momentary diversion from typical dance floor fare.
Sardonic as its title track suggests, Midnight functions best in the late night/early morning hours long after the drugs have worn off and sleep seems but a far-off dream. Conti’s sarcasm is ever-present on the aforementioned title track and later on in the ironic “Sometimes Sex Isn’t About The Money.” James Brown saxophone bursts buttress the funk-step fantastic “Bad Touch” even as they signal just what a genre-hopping experience the listener is really in for.
Synthesizers shiver twinkling electronic flourishes. Horns blare from every precipice. Female vocalist Brizza swoons seductive-soul on “Need You Back” while “Bobby Brown” oozes vocoder villainy and humorous non-sequitur: “I think Bobby Brown said it best when he said that girls today just don’t give a fuck/ Cocaine.” Unfortunately, either from studio (basement) constraints or lack of time/money, most of Midnight‘s tracks barely tick past two minutes, more meditation than fully realized product. Given the circumstances, songs like the horn driven “Cold Hands Warm Heart” prove Conti a respectable maestro with such limited resources.
With a major-label budget there’s no telling what The Marches might be capable of. Too bad the era of the major label is nearing its monolithic end as evermore artists find ways to promote themselves without big money backing. But where there’s an Internet, there’s a way.
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