Back in March 2018, Marshall Poole released a music video for the song "Chasing Down the Sun" off the album Pasadena (self-released, 2019). The track itself—a smooth, mid-tempo number about holding on to your dreams—is as polished and professional as anything the young local rock band has released. The video, on the other hand, feels far less formal—it features footage shot by bassist Melanie Radford of her bandmates meeting people and goofing off during a recent Northwest tour.
"It feels like a home video," Radford said. "And it plays into the whole idea of us living together, traveling together, and chasing something that's pretty crazy and unattainable, you know? But still doing it anyways for the fun of it, for the enjoyment of it."
The same could be said of Pasadena as a whole. Released on Jan. 12, the album took the band two years to complete. Pasadena isn't weighed down by the work that went into it, though: The confident grooves and sharp interplay between the group's four members make it Marshall Poole's best release to date.
Pasadena marks a change of pace from the massive riffs, lumbering rhythms and brooding menace of Marshall Poole's debut album Totems (self-released, 2015), its bright, airy sound and lively mood seeming closer to The Allman Brothers Band than Led Zeppelin.
"We've been getting that so much," Radford said, laughing. "Which is awesome."
"Somebody said we sounded a little like the 'Almond Brothers,'" added guitarist Rider Soran. "I'll take that."
Jokes aside, Soran argues that he and his bandmates now sound more like Marshall Poole than anyone else.
"I think this record is the first one where it feels like we're departing from influences [and] sounding more like ourselves," he said. "And the songs have been written in a more cooperative environment."
According to drummer Michael Hoobery, adding keyboardist Seth Graham to the lineup prompted the change.
"Before, it was more like garage rock, I felt like," he said. "So for my drums, I tried to keep them as resonant as possible and loud and noisy. I had to draw that back and take all the resonance out so I could hear all [Graham's] fingerings and stuff. It became more like funk rather than garage rock or something like that."
"It's more about learning how to do it together tastefully," Radford agreed.
Graham first met the band at a local house venue known as the 409 House.
"They played a house show there, and then they came to Caldwell," he remembered. "Our guitars touched and sparked one time."
"Literally," Soran said, laughing. "Faulty wiring, but it worked out."
"It wasn't just little sparks," Graham added. "It was like a full [explosion]."
Soon after Graham joined in 2015, the band wrote "The Zephyr," a spacey, seven-minute opus that serves as Pasadena's closing track. Radford sees this song—in which she and Hoobery weave their propulsive rhythms with Soran's stinging guitar and Graham's otherworldly synthesizer noises—as representing "the direction that our newer stuff goes."
Capturing this new sound on the record proved harder than Marshall Poole had anticipated.
"I think Totems took two weeks to get recorded and mixed, mostly," Radford said. "And then with this one, it took two years. But the reason for that is because we tried to do a lot of it, at first, ourselves."
The band began recording Pasadena in January 2017 with local musician Steven Gere at Lo-Bucks Performance Automotive, a Caldwell auto shop owned by Soran's father. The album's first setback came in the form of the 2016-2017 "snowpocalypse."
"It was awful," Radford remembered. "It was such a bad idea. But it really laid the groundwork for the album, and Steve helped us out a lot. And after that, we just kind of filled in other tracks and different recordings from our home when we all lived together off of Pasadena Drive up near the [Boise] Airport."
But when Jason Ringelstetter from The Tonic Room tried to mix those tracks, the band found that some of them were, in Radford's words, "not even salvageable."
"They weren't up to our standards at the time," Soran said. "We just wanted to redo them. So some of the tracks are at The Tonic Room as well, and all the mixing was done at The Tonic Room. Jason did a great job."
Fans of Marshall Poole can expect much more music from its members. Soran is currently working on a solo project and plays lead guitar with roots rock group Gipsy Moonrise. Graham will perform with musicians Ashton Jenicek and Sean Dahlman as part of Ming Studios' upcoming multimedia event, The Gradient. Radford recently formed the punk trio Blood Lemon with Finn Riggins guitarist Lisa Simpson, and Tambalka drummer Lindsey Lloyd. She'll also play a couple of upcoming shows with Built to Spill in Austin, Texas.
These diverse side gigs may well influence the material on Marshall Poole's third album, which the band is writing now.
"I think it's been really interesting... that everyone's been experimenting a lot and doing their own projects," Radford said. "Because it's been really fun to come back to practice with each other and bringing these little things that we've learned from other people."