Record Review: Margin Walker

Margin Walker
Departure and Return
Boston, MA

“A beautiful, rustic, well-crafted bloody nose”

Margin Walker announces the maturation and honing of their blistering riffage with a signature raspy slide guitar to kick-start their sophomore release. The twang, absent from their commanding, growling stoner rock debut, Send Word, is symbolic. If Send Word’s raw, Neanderthal-ed power fulfilled needs, Departure and Return builds desire and takes us out of the caves and into pyramid engineering school. Opener “Two Voices” pleases the ear with perfectly panned guitars singing sweet Southern rock harmony lines, and instrumental sections that fuel fist pumps like dictatorial regimes. Stack on an outro that gently surveys the worksite, and you have quite the architectural songwriting feat.

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It’s nuances that make the record compelling. Instead of relentless face pummeling, bluesy guitar lines and anthemic shout-alongs gently stroke your hair and tuck you in as that knot on your forehead swells up. Not to say they won’t drag you back into the cave for a clubbing, as “Kinetic”’s schizophrenic metal intro (complete with Duff McKagan, chorus-enhanced bass punch and kitty-killing guitar screams) proves. But the track, as with the record, never relies on that “one” riff to carry the weight, and builds depth with multiple sections and themes. Excursions and diversions turn songs into evolutions. (Self-released)

Recorded by Richard Marr at Galaxy Park Studios in Allston, MA // Produced by Margin Walker and Richard Marr // Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering in Boston, MA

-Nate Leskovic

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