It’s hard to pin down what makes something cool. As soon as you try to analyse and dissect what cool actually constitutes, its value is almost always lessened. With that in mind, I recommend you listen to the Philadelphia-based Marian Hill. Just maybe try not to think too hard.
Marian Hill’s musical components read like a modern tick list for cool new minimal acts. Jeremy Lloyd’s jazzy yet smooth production provides the chic canvas for Samantha Gongol’s confident vocal range, thick with charm and dripping with charisma. The self assuredness of the tracks and quality of the finish is what separates Marian Hill from what is becoming an increasingly competitive and saturated musical niche.
In Lovit, their first free to download single, we have minimal beats, check. Insatiably catchy hook, check. Quality production, check. Is there more to it? Yes, maybe. The song does work incredibly well and the riff does beg for a larger audience. Still whilst Marian Hill make for great listening, you can’t help but feel they too are a product of the new trend towards minimally produced RnB pop that Frank Ocean threw out to the mainstream and that has since found a home as a successful indie sub genre.
Whisky goes to show a slightly different side of Marian Hill, with a more prominent percussive element and a wider vocal range that gives a glimpse of their potential. It too though relies on the effortlessly cool combination of musical elements that whilst not theirs, they own and control in almost every other sense of the word. The quirky hook and intriguing production still reign dominant, as does the emphasis on Samantha’s effortlessly slick vocals. It is a great combination and one they are wholly successful in epitomising. Think Banks, but with more swagger and dance. It’s primed to be massive remix material. Take from that what you will. Is a great hook enough nowadays?
Either way Marian Hill have produced a quality selection of slick and sophisticated tracks which are now available as part of their Play EP on their Bandcamp. It may not be the most original sound out there but it works, and a whole lot better than others out there trying the same thing. Cool.