Album Review by Indie Music Review

Tommy Marz – Rival
Posted on March 3, 2012 by Erin Sullivan

Here I stand before you
I rack my brain for the right thing to say
I want to take a picture
So I remember the way you look today

The first time I saw you
You stood across the room
The moment our eyes met
I knew nothing would do
But to have you

Tomorrow I’m leaving on a journey
That will forever take me away from you

Tommy Marz’ lyrics, music and his voice in “No Regrets” sound beautiful together and mesh perfectly. Most of his songs are upbeat and poppy, but the music is more rock and his voice would remind the listener of Lifehouse’s Jason Wade. Marz’ voice is definitely unique, sometimes it’s high pitched and other times it’s deeper, depending on what message he wants to put across. He keeps the listener guessing throughout the album.

Marz is a singer songwriter with a sweet, pure voice who decided to record Rival, a softer solo album compared to the harder music played with his band Go to Zero. Marz is a one man show, because he layers his voice and his instruments together. His musical influences include Brendan Benson, Wilco, Duncan Sheik, Blind Melon, Jason Mraz, Brian Vander Ark, Cee Lo Green, John Mayer and The Beatles.

Woke up to another day
I wish this feeling would go away
Now it’s been so long
Since I’ve been outside without my shirt on
I wanted to feel the sunlight on my skin
Is it so wrong to wish that we all could start again?

I want to drive and go just to be alone
So no one will see me again
No eyes to see my lies
All the imperfection lines
My rival is just my friend
My eyes are clear again

Sometimes in life there are times when you just want to be alone. You don’t want anyone to see you or criticize you, so you take a drive, take a nap, or just sit in your room alone. This time alone can help you clear your head. This is what the listener could imagine when listening to the above lyrics from Marz’ song “Rival.” Marz jams on his electric guitar instead of his acoustic this time and might remind the listener of Duncan Sheik’s song “Barely Breathing.”

And to top it all off, Marz’ second song on the album is none other than a cover of George Michael’s “Faith.” Marz sings it similarly to Michael’s version, which is exactly what he was going for. He plays his acoustic guitar, stomps his feet, and sings it in a similar style. The listener will instantly love his version, if they are a fellow George Michael fan that is!

Here’s an exclusive interview with Tommy Marz.

ES: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you came up with your sound?

TM: In truth, I am a Grunge junkie. The majority of my songwriting years were spent writing and developing Grunge/Rock type songs. But the other type of music I am passionate about is 80′s music. Duran Duran is still among my very favorite groups. Then throw in a few contemporary artists like John Mayer and Sara Bareilles and the itch to record some Pop based songs came about. Then from there I wanted to incorporate other instruments that I haven’t used before into the mix.

ES: What made you decide to record a solo album?

TM: I recorded a song in my spare time called “About A Fool” and it had this Bluesy/Alt Rock/Pop feel to it. When playing and recording with my Rock band, Go To Zero, I’ve always written songs that didn’t really fit with the band’s sound. I always thought that one day this might lead to me recording a solo record. I had an idea of what I wanted it to sound like, and instead of wasting time showing someone what I was looking for, I just decided to play everything myself. The only time I didn’t was when I had a friend, Mike Elgert, come in and play guitar on the song “About A Fool”. Then I had Jason Tucker come in and produce it. The more we got into it, the more I thought I could actually finish the thing.

ES: I love George Michael’s Faith, and your version was awesome by the way!! Why did you decide to cover it?

TM: Thanks for that! I love his version too. That was one of the motivating reasons behind covering it. I wanted to sort of take it back from Limp Bizkit’s version and record a cover that was more like George’s. So I stay pretty close to the original but this was intentional. Here’s a funny thing… the stomps you hear at the beginning and throughout the song are a set of stairs mic’d up from underneath and above, while I am sitting on them just stomping away. But Jason had the idea and we tried it!

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Album name: Rival
Genres: Pop/Alternative Rock
Location: Detroit, MI
Band Members: Tommy Marz – Vocals/Guitar/Rhodes, Chris Alef – Guitar, Jason Tucker – Drums, Bryan Keyes – Bass
Date Album Released: January, 2012
Label: Stagefiend Records

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