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  • Jonathan Widran

SURVIVORS OF THE KRAKEN, Amid Life Crises

Beyond the mysterious origins of their enigmatic band name, Survivors of the Kraken have an incredible and inspiring story to tell that should encourage indie groups trying to plow through delay after delay to finally share their magic.


Enrapturing listeners with an eclectic vibe that’s full of feisty pop/punk edges, soulful and jangling mid-tempo pop rockers and even a bit of mystical trippiness, the Providence RI power trio of Justin Marra (guitars, vocals), Allan Furtado (bass) and Brian Decoteaux (drums, percussion) first formed in high school circa early 2000s, broke up for years before reuniting in 2011 (when they came up with their name). Upon a later reunion, they took five or six years of stops and starts before getting into producer Andy Davis’ 24 track studio (subModern Audio) and at last knocking out their continuously sly, explosive and lyrically thought provoking debut album Amid Life Crises (no doubt a self-deprecating jab about finally getting around to it close to middle age).


It’s a fascinating back story, and these guys (especially Marra) play intensely and know how to navigate between cool restraint and ever simmering emotional explosions. Yet that’s not what makes this ten-track gem so memorable. It’s those lyrical turns of phrase on three key tracks where they break the mold on hip guitar metaphors that blast out of even the most blistering of tracks. On the mid-tempo, increasingly crunched out “Out of Place,” a tune artfully showcasing the hip scratchy soulfulness of Marra’s voice, he sings “Feeling more than a little like this used guitar/I may be scratched but I wear weathered well/Hold me close and write your songs on me…”  


The brooding, distorted guitar bravura of “Tattered Baggage” creates an exciting backdrop to similarly brilliant wordsmithing like “Still got the magic of my youth in this guitar/Strumming it all away the bumps and scars and let the music make you…”  And the playful, uptempo romp  Second Time Around, without the actual mention of an axe: “Between desire and transgression, the memories at play. So plug it in and shred away.”


That’s just the start of the excellent songwriting these veteran rockers bless us with throughout, the best of which, “Ghost Lights” hits home with this highly relatable observation for the ages: “The brightest lights don’t burn for long but they sure do shine.” Marra, Furtado and Decoteaux may have taken their own sweet time to get their act together enough to record a debut, but hopefully this is just the beginning of more productivity, high energy playing and wisdom we could all benefit from.

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