The perfect soundtrack for a back garden festival
Joe Smith
11:42 10th August 2020

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Leeds four-piece Marsicans are staying true to themselves whilst switching up their sound on a frankly striking and charming debut. After a two month delay thanks to the unprecedented nature of Covid-19, the band’s long awaited debut is almost with us. Ursa Major is an indie pop summer festival condensed into an album. It’s fun, flowery and intimate - perfectly capturing who Marsicans are - four guys from Yorkshire having a great time making music for the masses. It's blooming lovely.

The album starts off slow, with the steady instrumental, conveniently named ‘Introduction’, guiding us into the brilliant ‘Juliet’: a song about singer James’ uncertainty of where the band might end up. A roaring chorus of guitars greet us as the track begins, before they drop off into what has become Marsicans’ signature vocal style, hushed vocals hiding in the verse, before erupting dramatically into impassioned choruses and conclusions. ‘Summery in Angus’ follows in a similar fashion. Clever and quirky guitar riffs mix perfectly with the tune's harmonies. It’s a song that showcases the excellent production value of this record, with fantastic layering and well thought-out backing vocals that really amplify the track, it’s clear why this tune in particular is already a fan favourite.

Wobbly guitar number ‘Evie’ is a dynamic, indie pop masterclass. The opening riff seems oddly sinister and brooding, before the track succumbs to Marsicans’ more playful style. It’s as nostalgic as it is bittersweet and it’s one of Ursa Major's more experimental tracks. A pleasant amount of reverb mixed with some seriously cool riffs make this tune an almost perfect listen.

Ursa Major, however, isn't just a collection of big indie bangers, it harbours more depth and feeling than first expected. The delicate ‘Blood In My Eye’ is an intimate duet: peaceful and calming. It’s a nice change of pace for the album, but still doesn't stray too far from the band's sound, with the song’s ending slipping back into traditional Marsicans territory. The dulcet ‘Dr Jekyll’ follows this same path, a peaceful beginning, with a steady build up throughout the track before it reaches its terrific closing moments. ‘Should've Been There’ is a soothing folky finisher. It’s one of the album's few acoustic moments and serves as an excellent and deep-seated closing piece of music.

On Ursa Major, Marsicans give us an extremely polished and poised debut, guaranteed to get crowds moving. Here’s to hoping festival season comes back around soon.

Ursa Major is released on 14 August 2020 via Killing Moon.

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