Album Reviews

Album Review: MARINA CITY – Terminal

Marina CityChicago’s best kept musical secret is getting ready to unleash their next musical masterpiece on August 11th. The EP, Terminal is concrete evidence supporting the fact that some of the best bands in the music industry are the ones that you probably haven’t heard yet. Marina City is once again releasing an EP independently proving that if a band has talent, there is no need for label hype. Terminal, recorded at Glass Arrow Audio in Toledo, OH, owned by producer Jordan DiSorbo, has such an insanely high production value that you have to hear to believe. The six fellas that Marina City is comprised of have a musical connectivity that I rarely witness in bands that have more than four members, let alone six. I liken their symmetry to that of the 80,000-year-old Aspen Colony in Utah. Each member of the band has their own unique musical identity, but share a common root.  Marina City ‘s sound has been described as Rock, Pop, Aggressive Rock. Progressive Pop, Top 40 pop and every other combination of those words. If I was asked to describe Marina City‘s sound, I would need only one word, “Phenomenal”.  Keep reading my little punk poppets and you will learn why.

The title of the first track, “Man in the Mirror” may have you thinking of the late great King of Pop, but you need to get that silly thought out of your mind, IMMEDIATELY. This track may have the same name, but that is where the similarities end. This track hits the old ear holes with an infectious up-tempo electronica-infused, feel-good hook. You may think that because of the upbeat intro that you are about to hear a fluffy pop-core ditty for the next 3 minutes and 34 seconds. Wrongo mi amours! “Man in the Mirror” is like the anti-fluff of songs. Yes, it has a funkadelic groove to it, but do not overlook the hidden depth. Before you commence with the listening to the rest of the song, do yourself a solid, pop on some uber-sensitive headphones. Now you can experience this song the way I experienced it, with ears, heart and soul.

Royalty” is good clean fun. This track is basically “what you hear is what you get”, and that is perfectly groovy. The entire song flows, washing over the listener like a cool endless wave. “Royalty” has some very sound advice we as humans should follow like my favorite line, “Let the rhythm do the talking.”

Better Weather” unfolds with such a heart-wrenching first verse that the feeling of remorse and loss are almost palpable. Frontman Ryan Argast uses his dramatic prowess to prove that when delivering vocals, sometimes it is not what you are singing, but how you are singing it. Keyboardist Matt Gaudiano has the angel kissed touch of a butterfly, creating a floaty feeling that could be mistaken for hope. Drummer Eric Somers-Urrea usurps the spotlight just as the second verse starts. Somers-Urrea departs from the “attack the drumheads and leave no prisoners” style of drumming for a kinder, gentler technique that shows Somers-Urrea’s versatility. Pay close attention to the drum line beginning just after the first chorus and you will know exactly what I am describing. The song’s bridge is a genius mashup of multilayer vocals and a swirling blend of instrumentals bleeding into the outro. Speaking of outro, I seldom pay attention to them unless it is something of pure beauty, which is the case here. The sustained final note delivered by an almost angry 6-string guitar drives a knife right through your soul. I guarantee you will not walk away from hearing this song without catching a case of the feels.

Thieves” is a sexy romantic romp that you can enjoy with your clothes on. This tune would be the theme song in “Adults Only” Heaven, if there was such a place. The frontrunner for best support instrumental line in this song is undoubtedly bassist Aaron Heiy. The bassline Heiy lays down is clever, not overpowering, but most importantly, sultry like a salsa dancer. Not to be out done, axe masters Todor Birindjie and Brian Johnson each make their 6-string mistresses sing a unique siren song while frontman Argast seduces the listener with his “inside sexy” voice.

Dreamers Never Die”, the last song of the EP, is also the first single to be released, and there is absolutely no doubt why. The band’s name may be Marina City, but they should change it to Goosebump City. Seriously, after listening to this song I had to turn the heat on in my office to get rid of the goosebumps this song made me break out in. Songs like “Dreamer’s Never Die“, promote unity and insight change, two things that the music world does not fill the air waves with enough. I won’t mince words folks; this song is a compositional masterpiece. The message is straight forward, the lyrics alone make this song a powerhouse, a song not to be ignored. Lead Vocalist Ryan Argast delivers the lyrics with such power and intensity, that it is apparent that Argast is baring his very soul. The instrumental layering is crisp and concise. Each instrument carries its own weight without overpowering or sacrificing any of the 6 individual musical voices. I am talking this was done by the musicians themselves, not created behind a mixing board or “cleaned up” in post-production. The individual talent of each member of this band is just plain obvious on this final track. I urge you to remember the name of this song, my lovelies, because soon it will be on everyone’s lips.


There you go my little metal miscreants, the Skullgurl’s take on Marina City’s newest EP, Terminal. I’ll caution you not to ignore this band, because they are on the cusp of starting their careers as huge mega rock stars. I know that all of you music loving rapscallions want to be able to say you supported Marina City since the days of the Terminal EP, so I have included links you beautiful creatures may need to get on the Marina City boat. Now, get out there and buy the EP, go to a show and as always BE THE METAL.


Marina City
Photo: Penelope Martinez



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