Marked Men -- Ghosts

Marked Men
Dirtnap, 2009

Over the past half dozen or so years, the Marked Men have earned themselves a reputation for crafting some of the most strikingly original pop-punk records of the decade. With a heavy dose of lo-fi garage fuzz, enough bubblegum to get Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon up off their beach blankets, and the perfect balance of three-chord simplicity and subtly experimental lead guitar riffs, the Marked Men may very well be the best pop-punk band in the country.


Track 1. "All in Your Head." Deceptively simple, the frantic rhythm of "All in Your Head" cultivates a pervasive sense of jittery excitement, as if you've drunk too much coffee after having spent all night falling in love. And it does not let up for duration of the record.

Track 2. "Ditch." Although listeners will strain to make sense of the muffled lead vocals ("ditch, stuck in a ditch, son of a bitch"), they will try to sing along. I promise. Oh, and keep your ears open for some of the best guitar work on the album.

Track 3. "Fortune." Noticing a pattern yet? Seriously, almost every track on this record would dwarf the best efforts of almost any other band. Although the whole song is pretty damn fine, wait until you hear the break about a minute into the track. Then just ride the waves of ah-ahhs into pop heaven.

Track 8. "Not That Kid." The rapid strumming of the guitars on "Not that Kid" are almost as mesmeric as the vocals are lulling.

Track 10. "Get to You." The notes of plaintive longing on "Get to You" are just sublime.

Track 14. "One More Time." The vocals on "One More Time" are arguably the album's best. And that is saying a lot.


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