Vancouver's Marianas Trench makes a iron-clad case for a prodigious set of talents - both frontman Josh Ramsay and those of his bandmates, guitarist Matt Webb, bassist Mike Ayley, and drummer Ian Casselman.
Marianas Trench had already elevated itself above the rest of the pack with a 2006 debut, Fix Me, that showcased a knack for colouring outside the lines of factory-issue millenial punk, shrewdly-built pop, and super-adrenalized modern rock. The single and in particular the video "Shake Tramp" was enough to demonstrate these qualities, coupled with Ramsay's uninhibited urge to be the complete song-and-dance man.
Two years later, Marianas Trench has re-emerged with Masterpiece Theatre. And not surprisingly, it's a work of soaring ambition and decisive technical prowess. Adopting Brian Wilson's notion of the 'pocket symphony' and then running with it, the three distinct versions of “Masterpiece Theatre” dotted across the record feature an almost perfect balance between the vocal theatrics of Queen and the more hymnal qualities of the Beach Boys.
By the time “Masterpiece Theatre” is reprised for a final, climactic time, every other song on the album is quoted and incorporated into an intricately constructed dramatic revue that swings from pristine pop, to propulsive riff rock, to quasi-doo wop, to robotic new wave, and finally into a wholly satisfying thematic payoff.