Evolution Review: Marianas Trench – I Knew You When

There’s been some big announcements to come from our local Vancouver all-star band, Marianas Trench. Firstly just a few days ago, Evolution 1079 told you about tickets going on sale for their upcoming “Suspending Gravity” tour – with stops across Canada including Vancouver on the 29th of March next year (check out the story here). But before you check that out, you have to check out the lead single they released from their new, and currently untitled, fifth album.

“I Knew You When” has your quintessential Marianas Trench sound you’re already familiar with. Musically, the song continues that lyrical pop-rock style and structure the band is known for, with a few modern twists. First, the fusion of their pop-rock sound and adding that “latin dance-like” rhythms that’s been growing in popularity ever since “Despacito” hit the airwaves. Second, to avoid traditional synths sounds and replace with a combination of orchestral instrumentation in the chorus, like tuba, timpani and bass trombone.

What is interesting about the song is the story of the lyrics. If you were to read the lyrics and listen to the music separately, you wouldn’t think the two belong together. You have this catchy and upbeat music, and yet it’s juxtaposed with this sad and reflective look on the realities of past relationships. To pull a comparison, it’s like having the beat and rhythm of their song “Cross My Heart,” mixed with the lyrics of “By Now.” Lead singer Josh Ramsay explains:

“This is about long term, messy, real life love. Love with consequence. Not about drunken lust, or doing shots in a bar, or ‘living life for just tonight,’ but the kind of real-life relationship that takes a decade to build, through ups and downs. If I’ve learned one thing in my life as a performer it’s this; if you’re going to sing a song every night for the rest of your career, you better mean it – and I do.”

Additionally, as with all Marianas Trench songs, Ramsay’s voice is the standout. The song once again does a strong job showcasing his strength in his vocal range, harmonies, timbre, and overall musicality. Interestingly, the band wanted to follow suit with the instrumentation, and wanted to avoid the use of synths on his voice and keep it organic. In fact, organic is the key word for this upcoming album. As Ramsay say’s in a tweet:

“This album has a lot of the organic concept. Computers don’t emote like humans, to me.”

It’s a strong song to start off with and a must listen. Longtime fans of Marianas Trench will be playing this song nauseously on repeat until the release of the next album. Personally, this song doesn’t hit my Top 5 from the group, but does slide in my Top 10.

They’ve wrapped filming for their music video, so be sure to check it out when it’s released. In the meantime, here’s the lyric video they made for the song.

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