‘Getting Paid’ utilizes otherworldy groove

Eli Watson

Musically, El Paso is known for a few things. Whether it is the post-hardcore sound of iconic band At the Drive-In or progressive rock heads The Mars Volta, El Paso has a thing for birthing groups that captivate with an innovative and fresh sound. This statement holds true for newcomers Zechs Marquise and their latest release, Getting Paid.

Unlike the band’s debut, Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare, Getting Paid moves in all of the right directions, showing the band’s growth as musicians. Where Nightmare was stagnant and often times dull and unfulfilling, Getting Paid is a strong effort by the band as it combines progressive and math rock with an otherworldly groove that results in a package much more digestible and intriguing than its predecessor’s.

The title song gives forewarning to what the album is all about. Psychedelic, interweaving guitar parts from Marcos Smith and Matthew Wilkson float over a groove-driven rhythm section that consists of brothers Marfred, Marcel and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez, who bring a controlled chaos to Getting Paid’s surreal atmosphere. When it seems that the band may just fall into an abyss filled with syncopated keys and King Crimson-esque guitar riffs, Marcel keeps things stable with a drumming style that is metronomic like the beats of hip-hop producer J. Dilla, yet powerful and untamed like that of Thomas Pridgen.

“Lock Jaw Night Vision” oozes with delightfully cacophonous sounds. Whatever pedal effect is being used in the first 15 seconds of the song is mind-blowing, and the reverberated, video game-sounding keys from Rikardo only add to the psychedelic journey. “Guajira” is soaked in Latin groove as high-pitched bongos open up a realm filled with eerie chord progressions and church-like organs, climaxing with explosive cymbal hits and dynamically-charged guitar parts.

Combining the guitar virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix with soulful Parliament-Funkadelic passages and Santana-inspired grooves, Getting Paid is an impressive release. There are moments of strangeness and unfamiliarity that may take some time to get used to, but once you get past the moments of fluff and weirdness, you are rewarded with an electronic, Latin-tinged funk rock package that is too good to ignore.

A great blend of groove, funk and chaos, Getting Paid is a warm welcoming into the world of Zechs Marquise. The level of musicianship in this band is incredible and how each song manages to captivate and intrigue with layers upon layers of guitars, synths, drums and other quirky sounds makes Getting Paid a noteworthy and standout album.  

Printed on September 27, 2011 as: Zechs Marquise 'get paid' with use of strangeness