Former guitarist of Boston hardcore outfit, Therefore I Am, and Warped tour’s Acoustic Basement Stage founder, Brian Marquis, takes listeners on a soulful pilgrimage of self-discovery in his debut solo full-length album, Blood & Spirits. Offering a balance of somber yet thought-provoking ballads and up-beat, knee-slapping folk jams, the record opens with “Drink You Up,” easing in with timid plucking, and then quickly escalating to an energetic explosion of spastic, fevered strumming that compliments his raw, brawny vocals. “Paralysis Analysis” continues the momentum of high spirits; the chorus an inspiring anthem with urgent chords and catchy chanting, as Marquis cries “This is the song that I sing to get me out of this place.” The tone mellows for “I’m Still Chasing You,” “Burn the Bridge, Swim the River,” and “Highways and Heartache,” taking on a more emotional, bluesy vibe, showcasing the most impressive range of his vocal abilities yet. With guitar in hand Marquis digs for every inch of hope and inspiration from his past, achieving an honest and heartfelt acoustic compilation in Blood & Spirits.
Blood & Spirits is available May 13 via Equal Vision Records.
Review by Jen Schwartz