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"was it not" - Marian Hill | Review

NYC duo Marian Hill gear up for the release of a new EP and gift us with a little taste of what's to come with their new single "Was It Not."

Dark and sultry, "Was It Not" brings an advanced sound to the table. Known for their ability to infuse soul into a minimalistic soundscape, Marian Hill aim to shed themselves of their alt-electronic box and push the boundaries of their signature sound.

Vocalist Samantha Gongol brings haunting and sexy vocals to this track. The track, swaying from their old sound, maintains the same eerie quality paired with beautiful production and jaw dropping vocals.

The new single "lives in a strange emotional in-between" says the duo.

This new collection of songs brings us a more evolved Marian Hill. You can expect compositions that pulls from the spare, woozy landscapes of their earlier works with an added layer polish. The EP (due out this March) explores themes that see the duo reflecting back on the past seven years of their career while looking forward to the future.

On the track producer/songwriter Jeremy Lloyd, explains, "'Was It Not' is a song we've wanted to make for a long time. It pulls deeply from the jazz influences we started from - it sounds like a dark, smokey club and the vocal slices through that texture like butter. It's about considering a relationship from long ago - remembering how we were so in love, and that person was everything to us, only now when we think about that one time...was that moment them? Or are we mixing it up with another fragment from our past? It's about feeling a yearning for what once was, but only for a second, because you remember why you left it in the past, and who you are now. It lives in a strange emotional in-between and we love it. A lot."

Chances are you're familiar with the established duo, comprised of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, who released their debut EP, Play, in 2013. Two years later they followed it with Sway, an expanded collection of their songs, this time officially released through Photo Finish and Republic Records. The seven track project featured the smokey, trap-jazz hit "One Time," which went viral on Vine and rewarded Lloyd and Gongol with a nice bump in popularity.

"One of the most amazing things about being discovered on the internet is you don't have to tough it out at bars and shows, it kind of happens over night," Gongol says. "But it also didn't give me time to figure out my performance, to become confident." Act One, their debut record, arrived in 2016 and brought the spotlight of virality onto the duo again. Apple featured the album's single, "Down," in an AirPods commercial nearly a year after Act One's release, boosting the infectious single to #21 on the Billboard 100, and pushing Marian Hill through the mainstream bubble. "It happened so quickly we were constantly playing catch-up," Gongol says. They rapidly shot a music video, played Fallon, and performed at Grammy parties.

Marian Hill showed how prolific they can be when they returned with their sophomore record only a year later titled Unusual (June 2018), 10 taut tracks including lead single "Subtle Thing" that garnered various tastemaker press approvals from the likes of PAPER Magazine, Billboard & Refinery 29. The record saw the duo solidify their position as a singular voice in modern pop and was paired with a series of ten one minute visual episodes invoking the work of filmmakers Roy Andersson and Peter Campus.

Review by Hannah Schneider

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