By Ramisa Murshed
After years of working on music for Gold Connections, Will Marsh has finally unveiled his first full-length album, Popular Fiction.
Popular Fiction is a recollection of love, loss, and other memories of youth, all intertwined and communicated sonically by a multitude of musical influences and styles of rock. It’s an album in which the past is a central idea, both lyrically and sonically. On first listen, bands like The Rolling Stones and Pavement come to mind, but Marsh still maintains a fresh, modern sound throughout.
The opening track, “Icarus,” is a seven-and-a-half-minute-long epic. It begins as a tale of downfall and resentment before slowing down into a frenzy of guitars at about three and a half minutes in, while Marsh repeats the phrase, “Get back to rock and roll!”
“Bad Intentions” was released as the first single exclusively from the album. It is a laid-back track about a past love, characterized by its catchy chorus during which Marsh simply sings, “Don’t mind the writing on the wall.” On “I Believe in You,” Marsh recounts the often self-destructive things he’d do for love. This is also the only track that contains speaking parts, which serve as a sort of internal monologue.
“Again Alive” showcases Marsh’s ability to combine influences in a beautiful way. The second to last track, the fast-paced “Plague 8,” is one of the highlights of the album, slowly fading into Popular Fiction’s final track, “Desert Land,” a mellow song acknowledging the inevitable pain that accompanies life.
Each track on Popular Fiction feels like an immersive adventure, catching the listener’s attention with mesmeric instrumental breaks and one-liners like “What a funny thing it is to die, to have ever been alive.” Popular Fiction is a culmination of Will Marsh’s work with Gold Connections from his time at WCWM at the College of William & Mary to the present day, bringing all of the experiences he’s encountered along for the ride.
Popular Fiction is out now on EggHunt Records, an independent record label based in Richmond Virginia. You can listen to this album and more on Bandcamp.