22 January 2020 | Blog

January 22 – January 28

In the lead up to New Jersey band Pinegrove’s 4th studio album Marigold, the band did something incredibly interesting and almost unheard of and released all of the tabs and lyrics to their upcoming release. Befittingly calling these ‘Pinetabs’, the band implored their fans to record and publish their own interpretations of the framework presented to them; leading to a myriad of artists, amateur and else wise, performing their own rendition of the band’s unheard album.

This made for a beautiful, almost communal experience as the variation in these renditions stretched from almost identical to the intended subject matter; to artists putting their own spin and style on lead singer Evan Stephens Hall blend of Indie Folk and Alt Country. This exercise in putting so much faith in their fan base only increased anticipation for their upcoming album for many people, myself included: we’d gotten a sneak peek at the bare bones of the band’s January 17th release Marigold, but what was the final product going to sound like? The answer to that question (although entirely subjective) is a gorgeous, thoughtful album that talks at lengths about self betterment through self reflection. Marigold was written and recorded between May 2018 and February 2019, a self described period of intense self reflection for Hall which, as previously, stated acts as the biggest inspiration to the entire album.

The opening 3 tracks of the album serve as something of a suite, a collection of songs intended to be played in sequential order for maximum effect; starting with Dotted Line, a powerful Folk Rock track encouraging the listener to create their own happiness, instead of relying on relationships or nostalgia; be self reliant, exceedingly clear on the line “May no fantasy hold my head up”.

Following this we’re thrown into Spiral; the shortest cut on the album at just 56 seconds, acts as somewhat of a regime to deal with loss and a reminder to take care of yourself, as Evan sings: “Drink water, good posture, good lighting, good evening” it’s incredibly difficult to not get swept up and want to improve yourself as well. The third track and final end to the introductory suite is The Alarmist, the third single prior to the release of the album. Using the analogy of an alarmist, someone who exaggerates problems or danger to the extent they’re warning others of said dangers. However instead of referencing some grand calamity; Hall is simply referencing love, and the wide range of emotions one would feel experiencing grief and loss at the end of a relationship.

Evan’s powerful, evocative lyricism and the warm guitar tones, backed by often gentle backing vocals and appropriately subtle drums are mainstays on the entire album. Several tracks however feature slight variations of styles and tones, adding gentle backing vocals, banjo and soft, lingering piano lines hanging in the background on tracks like the lush and triumphant Endless, or the penultimate track Neighbour. The guitar tones will often switch from quite Grunge like, distorted chords to warm Alt Country flavoured slide guitar. No Drugs, Moment and Hairpin all feature a Math Rock tinged guitar, as well as incorporating piano on the second half of Hairpin.

The second half of the album features the second single Phase and is easily the track with the highest tempo throughout the album, serving as one final bout of energy as Marigold begins to wind down. The final cut on the album is the titular song, Marigold; a 6 minute, entirely instrumental, meditative song for the listener to really dwell, and soak up what they just experienced.

Marigolds are bright orange and yellow flowers and often represent despair and grief over the loss of love, which perfectly encapsulates the themes of this album. The process of healing and improving after we experience loss or grief, in any form, is always tumultuous; but Marigold reminds us that although it is often going to be hard, through self reflection and improvement, it will always get better. Remember: drink water, good posture.