As one of the bands at the heart of one of Dublin’s most impressive new alternative labels, Popical Island, Groom’s third album (and Popical’s fifth) is probably their best chance yet to invade the mainstream with their offbeat, poetic take on life. Marriage is a vocally focused piece of guitar pop, lyrically witty and splattered sporadically with styles aplenty. The brass of a laid back soul tune, some static-infused beats and very occasional forays into a thrashier sound (one that would no doubt translate extremely well live) all play their roles amongst the poetry.
For the most part, though, this is mellow and well thought out, with a slight hint of ‘singer songwriter’ sound, yet by no means throwaway. Delivered in a deliciously folky twang and full of the colour of the easy-to-relate-to characters, Marriage delves into and rummages alluringly along the fringes of relationships, at times both powerful and forlorn. From exploring the depths in the vicious fight recounted in ‘Doorways’ to memorable, quirky opener ‘Don’t Park Your Heart Here’ – which views love from the angle of a guy who’s just not quite ready – there’s not an ounce of filler to be found. ‘Windows’ cools things right down into chilled out Buddha Bar territory, before ‘Mysteries Of Life’ – a fitting tribute to a lover who doesn’t quite live up to expectations – still manages to remain upbeat, romancing with the line “I’d sit through Napalm Death just to have you here again”.
This is very much an album’s album, with every song merging nicely into the next, and despite its pace changes and a strong prevalence of negativity in amongst the loving theme, it all holds together extremely well. File amongst ‘poetic, heartfelt, genre-bending pop’, grab each other’s hands and dance along to the realities of love, sappiness aside. In Marriage, Groom have it nailed right on.