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MARCH steamroll the secret fears and injustices of our time into boiling political punk rock. Between Clowns, Petrol Girls and The Bronx, “Set Loose” is an album in timeless melodic hardcore meets rock’n’roll sound – good-humored, with anti-patriarchal rage and uncompromising optimism in the heart despite all doubts.
The clear commitment to intersectional feminism is just as much a part of the album’s declaration of war against the prevailing system as the resolute highlighting of human imperfections. “The record is a mantra to let your own fire out. Everyone has this glow that can set great things in motion if we give it free rein – but that can also burn us out from the inside if we don’t”, is how frontwoman Fleur van Zuilen sums up the credo of “Set Loose”. The Dutch/Belgian quartet can be aptly described as “Brody Dalle and John Coffey forming an EpiFat band.” Their heated, hyperactive sonic brew combines the essentials of punk, rock’n’roll and melodic hardcore to give their songs the raw groove of the working class. MARCH shake off the stuffy dust of patriarchy with highly political explosiveness and make room for open-hearted processing of fears, biting criticism of our meritocracy and the uncomprehending question why there are so many assholes in it. The raw, grated voice of singer Fleur van Zuilen meets crunchy guitar riffs and a manic, driving rhythm section.
The four musicians founded in 2013 and exist since 2019 in current formation. Over 150 shows, including support slots for Descendents, Lagwagon and NOFX as well as festival appearances at Jera On Air or Punk Rock Holiday later, MARCH belong to the most promising punk acts from the BeNeLux region. No wonder, the band combines like only a few profound content with sing-along and moshable punk songs. The first single, “Reaper’s Delight,” for instance, shines with Hermance van Dijk’s stoner-esque single-note runs, almost reminiscent of Wolfmother, on drummer Thomas Frankhuijzen’s driving midtempo beats: “Go into the darkness / It’s better than out there / Here you can be honest / About being scared.” Lyrically, the song compares life to a ghost train: “Both are fun and packed with scares – the only difference is that you should make it out of a ghost train alive,” says singer Fleur, who is known for her physical presence and live ecstasy in addition to her distinctive voice.
“Born A Snake” on the other hand, with its irrepressibly milling melodic screams and catchy but effective hard rock riffs complete with headbanging groove, rages against “mean-spirited, nasty asswipes. People who take advantage of others without shame or guilt. I can name a few.” The latest single, “Challenger,” paints its danceable punk rock with cozier colors, but also boasts a hidden message: “One of my favorite movies of all time is ‘Death Proof,’ a Tarantino film in which a crazy stuntman kills a group of girls with his car. The second group of girls drive a white 70 ‘Dodge Challenger and take revenge on him. They were my heroes, and I really wanted that car”, Fleur explains the genesis of the song. “It’s a little tribute to him in the form of a short and dark story about taking the wheel, driving and leaving things behind.” The classic-rock guitar solo in the middle of the song completes this ride as a timeless element of freedom. The oppressive, yet always balanced and organic production of the album does the rest – with Walter Poppelaars, Dennis Boot and Bart Hennephof, no less than three experienced producers and sound engineers were responsible for the recording process.
“Set Loose” will be released on March 20 by Uncle M and is the band’s second album after “Stay Put” from 2016. In the course of the release, the band will still go on extensive tour through Europe in the spring.