A tribute to 1988 #3

by Jean

MARGINAL MAN “Marginal Man” LP, Giant Records.

(not mine)

During the pasts months, I added dozens of “soon-to-be” orders to my Discogs cart. Some of these likely orders can be collectors items (like this 6000$ JUDGE EP, I’m sure you’ve red that story somewhere…) or just something which really counts concerning my personal music tastes. That’s why I wanted to deal with MARGINAL MAN 2nd and final LP, titled…”Marginal Man”.

MARGINAL MAN was born from the ashes of ARTIFICIAL PEACE, you may have bought the “Complete Session November 1981” Dischord Records put out in 2010 to pay tribute to the short-lived band from D.C. or have seen Ken Inouye appearance in the “American Hardcore” documentary. In my humble opinion, “Marginal Man” record has a more interesting sound than what you may have listen from ARTIFICIAL PEACE.

The band put out a first 12″ on Dischord Records, “Identity” in 1984, a first LP (“Double Image”) in 1985 reissued as a remastered CD version in 2000 before finishing their carrier with that self-titled LP and also contributed to several appearances in compilation. They reunited once in 2011 for a show in D.C. “Marginal Man” record was released by Giant Records, subsidiary company of Wishingwell Records, a company known for having released several hardcore gems such as INSTED’s “Bonds Of Friendship”, BL’AST’s “The Power Of Expression” (before SST Records and Roadrunner Records took over from the production), UNIFORM CHOICE’s “Screaming For Change” and YOUTH OF TODAY’s “Break Down The Walls” before We Bite and Revelation Records, for example… Giant Records seemed focused on releasing a different kind of music: although they put out some versions of DAG NASTY, VERBAL ASSAULT (the “emo evolution” of hardcore) 7 SECONDS or even NIKKI SUDDEN & THE FRENCH REVOLUTION which is absolutely not a hardcore punk band (but more a glam/garage rock band!).

Previous MARGINAL MAN records are, I gotta admit it, pretty boring… There are not a lot of bands which had provided me that feeling when the final effort of the career of a band is actually their best contribution to music! Actually it is often the exact opposite of the situation that occures – that implies the different line-up changings, the History of the band, the business-plan records label have chosen…

“Marginal Man” LP’s sound is really sophisticated: a subtle mix of emotions which make of this record a key-band of the pre-emo thing. Among their influences, MARGINAL MAN members  quote several UK early punk bands (such as THE DAMNED, THE BUZZCOCKS) as favorite bands, and two of them, before joigning MARGINAL MAN ranks, were playing in a jazz quartet called TOASTERHEAD. I guess these facts are the two main reasons why MARGINAL MAN attracted me comparing to all the bands shouting after Ronald Reagan at that time and trying to play as fast as they could, as the band who expressed different emotions and musical skills (especially on “Marginal Man”). While I was looking for various informations concerning the band, I red on Dischord’s website that MARGINAL MAN was one of the first bands from the D.C. area with two guitars. The use of a second guitar is, in my opinion, remarkable concerning “Marginal Man” LP cuz the two guitars link the cutting riffs and more melodic parts to perfection (“Metal Madness” for example). The striking element of the entire record is, in my opinion, Steve Polcari’s singing. I just LOVE the way he articulates and keeps up the different aspects of his vocals, I can help thinking of both “Time” and “Under A Shadow” for example, and my other favorite tune featuring on that record (with opening track “Time”) “I Had A Feeling” which sums all the comparisons with Alice Cooper vocals during the early days of his career (from 1971 to 1972, with “Killer”, “Love It to Death” and “School’s Out”). I can hear some musical elements I’ve practically never heard concerning “hardcore” or punk musicians, like a tribute to various artists like Neil Young or Roky Erickson. I can only remember these two SINK LPs I bought in a second hand records store once which were stocked in the “hardcore/punk” racks of the shop…

I think if you want to listen to something different than the usual hardcore records you’re listening to, this record is for you!

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