/homo sentimentalis; 2005/

Russian bands’ efforts hardly come to our West-Europeans ears and that’s a pity. Marschak is a screamo band from Moscow that does not pale in comparison to European and American screamo acts. Lots of screamo bands operated or have operated a musical change, roughly speaking from hardcore to what has been called post-rock. In this album, you clearly hear that Marschak has started its sloughing but is still far from playing subdued music. And that’s precisely what makes this album highly enjoyable. The energy and the rage of hardcore permeate the album but it never sounds like gratuitous brutality. Even if emo kids will think that Marschak is closer to screamo bands, there is an indie-rock hook in their music (listen to ‘Moi novyi den’ – my new day) that somehow reminds me of good old Unwound, ‘Razgavor s samim saboi’ for example (which means ‘Conversation with Yourself’ - Is it just a coincidence ??).

They are apparently named after the Russian writer Marschak but their music is definitely not for children unless you want them to wake up in the middle of the night, sweating heavily after a distressing nightmare. At first, I was quite uncomfortable with the singer’s screams because they are somehow high-sounding but after giving this album several shots, I got used to them and even started to appreciate this voice, hoarse with screaming which generates at the same time a sensation of sore throat and of affliction, depression and despair. ‘Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome’ is a nice screamo song in which the singer shouts out his feeling of uselessness, asserting ‘I know I’m not of any use’.

The lyrics, screamed in Russian, seem to deal with loss of identity, day-to-day alienation and despondency. My favourite song is ‘Ne Byt’ Tchelavekom’ (Not being a human being) which is about the pain upsetting you when you wake up every day just to live something pretty similar to what you endured the day before. This is one of the songs in which there is a cello and a piano added to the usual rock instruments. This addition alleviates the fierce guitar and at the same time adds a sad, weary, attractive tone to the track, especially at the end when the piano seems to try to comfort the hoarse voice…

-SEB ‘Nobody’ WOOd.

/feb 15th 2005/