Equal parts character and commitment, “Marching Off To War” props itself on top of some seriously good-natured drumming and never looks back. The verses–all two of them–involve some smiley, spoke-sung lyrics that serve as gatekeepers to the body-shaking rhythmic attack of the chorus, in which singer/guitarist Travis Atria wails the repeated line “Marching off to war” in full Perry Farrell mode. Is there a disconnect here between the jolly sounds and the somber words? I’m guessing that’s the point. Note the way the chorus ends with a line that comes across as a throwaway–“I don’t care what you say anymore”–but may indeed be the fulcrum of the song.
Because that’s exactly what happens when human beings are rallied to act against their own better natures: they must be jollied up to the point where they don’t want to know there’s another way to look at the situation. Don’t bother me, I’m marching off to war. My head’s full of happy nonsense. Whatever the latest war is. (The war against health care reform will do.) “I don’t care what you think anymore,” is how the line goes later in the song.
Named after the Radiohead song (and why not; Radiohead too made a one-word name for themselves from another band’s two-word song title), Morningbell is a quartet from Gainesville. Travis’s brother Eric plays bass (and, Radiohead-ishly, theremin), and Eric’s wife Stacie plays keys. (The exhilarating drummer, not related, is named Chris Hillman, of all things.) The band was previously featured here in May 2007. “Marching Off To War” will be found on their fourth and forthcoming album, Sincerely, Severely, slated for release on the band’s own non-profit label, Orange Records, in December.