Being ‘retro’ is cool these days, apparently. You don’t have to look far in most social situations to find someone wearing, listening to or in some way touting something that was created in the last five years to seem like it comes from the heady days of yore, and as such it is easy to become jaded with these ever present pastiches. Marion Walker, a three piece psychedelic rock band from Nevada, could easily fall into this derivative camp, with their tripped-out, bleary-eyed melodies and raw musical aesthetic. However, despite the so called ‘hipsters’ filling all the bandwagons to bursting point, it is in fact still possible to revere past eras in a genuine and credible way, and with their single-track, 11-minute EP Serious Picnic, Marion Walker have certainly made a strong attempt. Opening with a Joan Jett-esque romp, the vocals are what immediately grab the attention, with their somewhat unconventional (and in fact not entirely technically brilliant) dulcet delivery reminiscent of the most dejected-sounding end of grunge, and yet they grow to become endearing the more the song rolls on. Actually split into three parts, this suite is long enough to be a pretentious art rock track, but its delivery is far from ‘prog’. The track certainly doesn’t boast any musical wizardry, but it meanders along in such a way that despite its length it never bores, the three sections transitioning seamlessly into one cohesive whole. Part two, entitled ‘Silver Drone’ is where the psychedelia really becomes apparent, the fuzzy guitar tone becoming dominant and leading the listener into a repetitive, trance-inducing jam, encouraging the familiar head bobbing of the spacey youths from a past generation. In fact, this largely instrumental middle section is the highlight of the whole experience, and shows off the strong grasp of their craft that this band have. The loose production and generally rough-around-the-edges feel of this EP manages to successfully recreate the analogue warmth of the artists this young band clearly admire, and as such, whether they are sincere or in fact cashing in on the popularity of the mysterious, hazy tones of the 60s and 70s, Marion Walker are certainly convincing. Bringing nothing even remotely modern to the table, Marion Walker might struggle to stand out, but they know how to create a strong vibe, and perhaps that is all that matters.
For fans of: Tame Impala, Purson, Joan Jett