Ride the Wonder Winds

Marmalakes strike the right chord

Ride the Wonder Winds

Hard work pays off, and sometimes it sells out the Cactus Cafe. Such was the case mid-July when a line of eager fans and friends made its way out the door and around the corner of the legendary venue in hopes of being admitted to Marmalakes' EP release party.

The Cactus hit capacity during the opening act, and throughout the evening, members of Marmalakes made their way up and down the line, apologizing for the unanticipated problem. Though no band wants to turn fans away, selling out a legendary venue is exactly the sort of problem you want to have at your release show.

Wonder Winds, the new 6-song EP from the Austin trio, has already turned some heads. Rather than a collection of songs, Wonder Winds plays as a cohesive work. It's intelligent folk-pop, accessible and delivered with refreshing honesty.

The album opens with “(A Scene Through) Cellophane,” a driving, metaphorical tale of “absurdly small” infantrymen abundant with airy harmonies and reverberating drums. “Vittoria,” the following track, is one of those songs that is so good it seems like it should have been written years ago, and by the end, it's stuck in your head. Both “Ode to Johnnie Martin” and “Conversation” emphasize the strength and maturity of Marmalakes’ songwriting. “Cast On” is a slow, pensive tune tied together with distant acoustic guitar, gentle voices, and a Dylan/Springsteen-esque harmonica solo. Wonder Winds concludes with the loud “Hands Alone in the House.”

From their impressive live performances, it’s obvious Chase Weinacht, Josh Halpern, and Max Colonna work tirelessly, successfully executing air-tight harmonies and flawless breakdowns and buildups. Instead of strutting on stage and asserting themselves above the audience, Weinacht and company wear their gratitude on their sleeves, profusely thanking their listeners and displaying love for their craft.

Take heed, aspiring musicians: This is where hard work and passion takes you. You’re going to root for Marmalakes.

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