Now more than ever, it can be challenging to see any good in the future. Most people in the world are focused on excessive negativity in the news, politics, and much more. However, it could be mentally beneficial for people to take a step back and reflect on the pivotal moments of their lives. Whether it was intentional or not, Minnesota-native band Maria and the Coins conveys this almost entirely with their debut album.
Maria and the Coins’ album, “Forward,” was released on March 5th. Each song takes a jump back into the moments of the lives of each band member, some good and others upsetting. In a way, it’s a concept album, or an album featuring a cycle of songs that convey a theme. Pink Floyd did this with “The Wall” and The Who did it with their masterpiece “Tommy.” You don’t hear a lot of people doing concept albums nowadays, so props to Maria and the Coins for bringing back the art form for their masterly-planned debut.
Each song on “Foward” features Nick Baker on the guitar, Zaq Baker on the piano, Sheldon Way on the drums, and Maria Coyne supplying the vocals. Though the band is considered to make alternative rock music, there’s a certain “twang” in Maria’s voice that makes “Forward” sound almost like a country album. Maria’s soft, angelic vocals also have enough range to hit high notes. She isn’t belting, which is uncommon and refreshing.
The song “I Was Her” is possibly one of this album’s highlights. It opens with Zaq Baker’s piano playing, which is a very distinct opening from the other songs. The piano notes could remind people of the beginnings of songs from the 70s, like those done by The Carpenters. This “retro” style of music is unlike something you’d hear in modern-day pop music and blends perfectly with the song’s theme. In the song, Maria, much older now, reminisces on the words someone told her when she was younger. The fact that the band included an old-sounding melody with a song about nostalgia is meta.
Though the chronological order of the songs merged nicely, “Forward” can sound monotonous at times. It would’ve been nice to see a switch in subject matter, tone, and overall song structure. On the contrary, this could what Maria and the Coins were trying to accomplish. It’s good to see consistency in all the categories mentioned above, especially when viewing “Forward” from a “concept album” perspective. Also, sometimes people want to listen to music that flows together and sounds similar, which can help them focus on a task.
After the release of “Forward,” Maria and the Coins showed everyone that they’re a force to be reckoned with. The idea of detailing one’s life in poetic form is unique and a bold choice of theme for a debut album. It’s clear that the band has a lot of ambition and artistry, and it should be interesting to see what they have planned for the future.