Released: September 27, 2011
Label: Sargent House
Reviewed by: Stephanie Perez
From our own lovely state of Texas, El Paso is home to yet another mind-boggling project from the Rodriguez-Lopez brothers. Marfred, Marcel, and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez, brothers of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitarist and founder of The Mars Volta), join musical forces with childhood friends Marcos Smith and Matthew Wilkson to bring into existence the progressive/psychedelic/experimental, mainly instrumental sounds of Zechs Marquise.
Heads quickly turned, and have been turning since their sophomore release titled Getting Paid: which could not have been engineered any more flawlessly to produce a wave of latin-based-progressive-rock sounds mixed with a psychedelic-funk feel due to the heavy usage of electronic keyboards, synths, and mystical guitar riffs through out the album. Zechs Marquise will definitely meet your expectations as a prog/experimental rock band with this second release. The instrumentation is highly intricate with so much musical movement that flows beautifully together with well composed transitions, but it is the small things they do different which makes this album a true gem.
Led by a funky bass line and a Latin driven guitar melody, the opening album-titled track “Getting Paid” will introduce you to the sound and mood of the album and thrill you for what is still to come. The influence of Latin sounds incorporated into the album shine through the tropical beginning of “Guajira” as we’re welcomed by some beautifully played reverbed hand drums. You don’t have to be a music genius to recognize the touch of Latin based sounds which gives a whole new level of life to Getting Paid. Bringing even more life to the album, RX Bandits frontman Matt Embree, lends his voice to the very up-beat “Everlasting Beacon of Light”: one of only two tracks including vocals in the album. This track carries out a different sound than the rest of the album without loosing its place in it, and it’s nice to hear Zechs Marquise music being accompanied by vocals (especially those of Matt Embree). “Time Masters,” the shortest track in the album, is worthy of being mentioned simply for its effect of making you feel like you’re floating through an endless space of keyboards and synthesizers, backed by some hand drums keeping that Latin feel alive. Just when you think it can’t get any better, Zechs Marquise lead you into the last wild track “Mega Slap.” Probably the most technical of all tracks, “Mega Slap” brings Getting Paid to and end with face-melting guitar solos and drums which I cannot even find the words to describe (it’s that good). Every member of Zechs Marquise transcends themselves and sync with each other majestically through every note ofGetting Paid’s last moments.
I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the intensity of Zechs Marquise live and highly recommend you check them out in this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, if you are attending that is. If you haven’t yet, definitely give Getting Paid a listen; it is clearly one of 2011’s finest. High in musical variety, Getting Paid is truly one of those albums that anyone can enjoy, but nonetheless, it always has something to offer.