POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR | Marianas Trench | | The JUNO Awards

When Marianas Trench’s lead singer Josh Ramsay came up with the title Astoria, he saw the album as a concept record based on 1980’s fantasy adventure films; specifically The Goonies, which is set in the seemingly doomed town of Astoria, Oregon. With free form epics such as the opening title track and album closer ‘End Of An Era,’ emotionally raw offerings like ‘Wildfire’ and ‘This Means War,’ Astoria is a fitting follow up to Marianas Trench’s platinum-selling, concept-based releases Masterpiece Theatre (2009) and Ever After (2011). Channelling influences as diverse as The Beatles, Queen, Tears for Fears, Michael Jackson, George Michael and Depeche Mode, among others, it’s Marianas Trench’s most ambitious record to date: unapologetically cinematic, constantly surprising and featuring lush orchestral textures that segue seamlessly into spare, but powerful songs like the standout ‘Dearly Departed.’

Music industry professionals, journalists and artists alike are fond of saying ‘the album is dead.’ Now and again, however, a band like Marianas Trench comes along and puts the boots to that assertion. Put bluntly, each song on Astoria is as strong as the record as a whole and, like the very best of recordings, tells the raw, unvarnished truth, candidly and absolutely fearlessly.