Hey Marseilles are a seven piece band from Seattle. Lines We Trace is their second release. It is a typical indie pop band that has the benefit of strength in numbers. The group has a large instrumental repertoire. The album itself has good production value. There is something slightly reminiscent of The Decemberists, the only difference is when The Decemberists came onto the scene, their schtick was new and refreshing. Somehow this more placid rendition that is Hey Marseilles doesn’t quite do it for me. No risks are taken. It’s completely unoffensive, while not quite being bland. It’s the kind of music you would find in line at Starbucks. If that’s your thing, yay for you.
The most interesting pieces are the ones that focus on the piano. Dead of Night is a genuinely good song. Madrona is amazing as well. It should have been the first song of the album, but it lacks vocals which is a pop album no-no. Hearts Beats is a throw away, sad to say. If it needed to be in the album it should have come in at the end. To be perfectly honest, I lacked the patience for much of the album. It falls flat in many ways.
Most people who like this kind of indie pop music will have bands that they will personally always like better because most other indie pop bands are a little more “out there” than this seven piece. And that’s the point of being an indie band isn’t it? To be a little bit more out there than the mainstream pop scene would allow? Hey Marseilles don’t stick their neck out there enough, but when they do, it is satisfying although it will leave you yearning for something more, but not necessarily more of the music. Bottom line, if there are seven artists, there should be more artistic risk. Too safe.