Just when you think you’ve heard it all, suddenly a band crosses paths with your ears and changes everything. MarchFourth, a twenty piece band based out of Portland, Oregon, are gearing up for the release of their latest album, Magic Number, on September 30th. Fifteen members of this large ensemble trekked down to New Orleans and spent 10 days in the studio building this titillating album, which was produced by Ben Ellman of Galactic.
Full of auditory goodness, let’s dive right in and examine their long overdue album, that was fan-funded through Kickstarter, track by track. Take a breath before hitting the start button. Things are about to get explosive.
“Call To Action” is jammed with in your face horns that begin nice and steady before blasting off, taking the listener on a brass filled musical escapade. Serious energy from the get go entices listeners to turn that volume dial higher and higher. “The Quarter” slinks into play with smooth tones, funky guitar beats, and playful lyrics before picking things up with “Magic Number.” With a Spanish flair, the song drops listeners into the heart of Mexico, giving the feel that trouble is around the corner. Quick paced, featuring clean trumpet and jazzy guitar, the energy keeps right on rolling.
“Push It Back” is heavy on deep funk guitar tones right off the bat, gluing the song together from beginning to end. With Stanton Moore making a guest appearance on drums, a 70’s vibe is felt, throwing it back to the days of disco balls, feathered hair and bell bottoms. Don’t be surprised when the repeat button is tapped over and over.
If a track would be up to no good, “Inventing the Wheel” would be the perfect musical specimen. This tune is full of attitude, swagger, and stealthily glides along, picking up speed mid-song as if the notes are running to hide from the bad guys. The notes quietly tiptoe back into it’s original swagger, with special guest Trombone Shorty bursting at the seams on the trumpet solo, and Ben Ellman providing harmonica.
“Hotstepper” musically conjures images of a conversation between instruments, with song lyrics refereeing the energy. Danceable and fun, this quick paced jam keeps the party rolling. “Drunk Bears” automatically is lovable by name alone. Hit play and be prepared to jump up and down. The deep, low tones of the baritone sax stand out immediately, grabbing other members of the brass family by the balls to take listeners on a crazy ride.
Mysterious “Jan Jar” has a powerful wanderlust aura dancing around the notes, before “Science (Free Your Mind)” erupts into the ears. Matt Perrine, of Bonerama, hits up the sousaphone on this track that is soaked in New Orleans flavor. This shattering jam would be very much at home marching down the streets of the French Quarter.
Fast paced “It’s a Trap” hints at being more of a brass knuckled punk band with attitude. This speedy tune takes listeners on a roller coaster of a ride, making sure the heartbeat picks up. The album ends on a tender note with “Endless Highway,” shaking off the energy from the explosive beats leading up to this track.
Magic Number is a solid journey of an album, stuffed with intense toe tapping beats and story telling melodies. MarchFourth has modernized the big band sound to today’s generation; this is an album that should not be missed. For more information on MarchFourth, visit their official website.
Key Tracks: Push It Back, Drunk Bears, Science (Free Your Mind)