Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


In the Marshes

  For Against  
  Words on Music  
Release Date:


Reviewed by:

Words On Music continues their series of For Against re-releases with the collection In The Marshes. This was the band's third release, a 10" record that graced store shelves in the year 1990.

A little history, from The Words On Music For Against page. Apparently, these recordings were made right after the band finished recording Echelons, during a period in which their lineup was in flux. So these were to be temporary songs that were to be revisited at a later stage by a more stable lineup of the band. As is often the case, when the band re-formed with a new lineup, they wanted to do new songs and not dwell on the past, so these tunes were left as they were, abandoned as For Against moved on. Eventually they were gathered onto an EP, and released in their primal state.

This re-release was re-mastered by Marc Ostermeier, of fellow Words On Music artist Should. Mr. Ostermeier does a fine job, producing an EP that is clear and crisp, yet still hints at the rawness that demo versions necessitate. The re-release features the six songs that were on the 10", as well as 2 additional tracks from that time period. In fact, both of the additional tracks are alternate versions of two songs otherwise featured here, so there are 8 tracks, but only 6 songs.

These songs are dark, even for For Against. That could be an effect of their primitive production, perhaps the murkiness of the simplistic recording devices makes the songs seem dark and brooding. Or perhaps this wasn't a great time for the people involved, and their music reflects that. Songs like The Purgatory Salesman and Fate are darker than most goth, which lends some support to the second notion above.

There are also a lot of electronics here. In fact, it sounds like drummer Greg Hill basically spent more time writing code for the drum machines than actually beating on things. One would think that this might be a source of frustration to drummers, and indeed Hill did depart the band shortly after these demos were cut. I guess synthpop just isn't for everyone.

However, despite the darkness, the electronics, and the transitory nature of these recordings, these are great tunes. One of lead For Against-er Jeffrey Runnings's best vocal performance is on Amen Yves, the song that we also get treated to an "original version" of. (A demo of a demo?) Here, over chiming guitars, a hesitatingly chugging bass line, and some thudding from the 808, Runnings tears loose, really chanting in an almost hypnotic way. It's dark, but also beautiful.

Another real standout is Amnesia, where Runnings drawls "just try to remember" over and over, as the music builds frantically behind him. One of the bonus tracks is a "studio version" of this song, and i have to say that once it was cleaned up, the song loses much of the edginess that makes the demo version work so well. That's a shame, because the demo version is great, Runnings's vocals teetering on the brink of madness as guitarist Harry Dingman III wails away in the background. Really great stuff. The studio version, on the other hand, is positively sterile. It is interesting to hear, but i understand why that version was not released. Sometimes it is best to just abandon a song and move on as a bandů

Overall, this is another fine For Against record. Words on Music has told me that they will have an album of brand new material out soon, so watch this space for news on that. Now, when is that next re-release coming out?

Related Links:

Label Website:
Band MySpace:
Band Website:
Also on EvilSponge:
     Remastered album: Echelons
     Remastered album: December


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.