Ever After

Ever After

It probably doesn’t really matter that Ever After is a concept album set in Toyland and features characters like the Outcast King, an evil queen, a princess named Porcelain, and the Stuttering Wise Man—plus singer/writer/producer Josh Ramsey, who falls into Toyland to save Porcelain and the kingdom. It doesn’t matter because it’s the music here that's impressive. Marianas Trench take a well-worn, radio-friendly rock-pop sound and put it through a wide range of playful style filters with acute focus and clarity, rendering this band one of the most admirable of the current commercial rock scene. Ramsey is immensely talented, with a great ear. Check the swing-era energy of “Stutter” (replete with a gospel choir chorus), the sweet dance pop of “Haven’t Had Enough” (which oddly recalls Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”), or the soaring, strings-driven heart-hugger “Ever After.” There are whiffs of artists from Queen to Michael Jackson and even flecks of banjo and harpsichord throughout the collection. And of course, since Ramsey seems to know exactly what he’s doing, there's a happily ever after at the end.

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