Marianas Trench’s ‘Astoria’ proves worth the four-year wait

Marianas Trench released their fourth full-length titled Astoria on October 23. It has been four years since Marianas Trench’s last album, Ever After (certified Platinum in their homeland of Canada). Fans have been waiting a long time for another album from the group and after listening to Astoria, I can tell you it was worth the wait.

Astoria may be Marianas Trench’s best album to date, which is difficult to say considering how amazing their last two are. There are Easter eggs throughout the album hitting fans right where it hurts and reminding them that an “End Of An Era” has happened but “Every start begins with saying goodbye to you.”

The album is a giant #ThrowbackThursday with it’s ’80’s pop music styling in songs like “Burning Up,” “Yesterday” and “Shut Up And Kiss Me” while giving nods to the music in Ever After and Masterpiece Theater in the opening title track and the final adieu in “End Of An Era.” Probably the most heartbreaking throwback is in “Dearly Departed,” which is nestled almost perfectly in the middle of Astoria. The sad song put to a Twenty One Pilots-type of ukulele background references 10 (you could make the argument of 12 considering the band has three parts to “Masterpiece Theater”) songs off of Masterpiece Theater and Ever After. But why?

From what I’ve gathered, lead singer Josh Ramsay was in an on-again-off-again relationship with someone and it ended with a failed engagement. What is probably the most interesting twist on an already amazing album is the fact that Astoriais a timeline of their relationship. Seventeen songs doesn’t seem like it would cover a relationship that started before 2009 (Masterpiece Theater was released in 2009 and from the references in the album, she inspired most of it), but it does.

Astoria contains five interludes, which feel like a lot until you understand their purpose. The interludes represent a period of time. The album starts (after “Astoria”) with the two fighting and breaking up then an interlude. “This Means War” starts off with “It’s been what? Half year?” meaning that the interlude represented that time. Then another interlude. Next is “Dearly Departed,” where Ramsay talks about the failed engagement. Then another interlude. I assume the next two songs are about trying to get back together and her falling for someone else. Then another interlude. The next three songs are about him trying to move on and attempting to find a place for her in his life without him hurting. The fifth interlude is before the closing song.

This entire album is about heartbreak and yet has some of the most upbeat songs Marianas Trench has ever made. “Burning Up” and “Yesterday” are about fighting and the relationship ending, but they feel like classic ’80s dance pop. It’s crazy and intense.

Ramsay even warns the audience at the beginning that “Not ready yet, not for you/Don’t want to know my darkest lows/My blackest pitch” and tells his previous love in “End Of An Era” that “if we shadows have offended/I hope your heart can still be mended/I hope you know that I don’t blame you my dear friend/Always will love you still/But Astoria must end.”

Astoria is hands down the best pop album of 2015 and well worth the wait.