Erik Marley - Sour Dreams EP Reviewed

Sour Dreams

An area native, Erik Marley has 15 years of experience as a drummer/percussionist, and studied Jazz Performance and Classical Percussion, receiving a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at Rowan University. Currently, he is a freelance Jazz musician and educator in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area. Sour Dreams is his latest 4-track studio EP, created alongside fellow Philadelphia musicians Alex Ayala (keyboards), Jacob Kelberman (guitar), and Mike Parisi (bass).

The production on Sour Dreams is clean (recorded, mixed and mastered by Mathieu Gendreau). Erik and his accompanists show a high level of technical ability, stamina and dexterity throughout the record. Despite being only four tracks, the album runs an impressive thirty minutes long. There is not a track on the album less than five minutes in run time.

Check out the tracklist & stream the EP below as you follow along!

Tracks 1 & 2, “Moon Fruit” and “Orange Waltz” are just about what you would expect from an instrumental jazz record. Musically impressive, toe tapping jams scattered with fast guitar and Rhodesy keyboard leads. While the tracks don’t feature any particularly memorable melodic lines in the lead or rhythm sections that you would be left humming upon the end of the tunes, I don’t feel that the point of this music was ever to exhibit such a quality. After all, this certainly is not pop music. Regardless, to other musicians especially, these tracks are impressive and enjoyable. It is excellent music to work or relax to, both in the background or in the foreground.

Tracks 3 & 4, “Créme Brulée” and “Brain Juice” are for sure the standout tracks for me.  “Créme Brulée” is the pretty track on the album, featuring etherial synth pads and, for the first time on this record, very subdued guitar. I would say that this song sounds very much the way a Claude Monet painting looks in that it is undoubtedly feels complete, but it is composed more of textures and chords than intricate details or melodies, unlike the rest of the record. 

“Brain Juice” is undoubtedly my favorite track on this EP. Out of all of the tunes it has the most calculated and memorable melodic structure, a riff that is revisited throughout the almost nine minute song. The riff satisfies the pop and rock lover inside of me, but maintains the jazz feel of the rest of the record. For sure this record is a diverse but cohesive work of art.

Check out Erik Marley’s Sour Dreams, and check out Marley's other social media to keep up to date.

Erik Marley: Bandcamp