REVIEW: Märcoda – “My Imaginary Shores”

My Imaginary Shoes

I’d be a goddamned liar if I suggested that I was qualified to review My Imaginary Shores by Märcoda. While I wouldn’t say that industrial goth is not my thing, it’s not a thing that I listen to very often, or with the kind of intensity that may inform my greater understanding. Of course, this begs the question of what qualifies anyone to assess art, which gets a little sticky when you consider how subjective it all is. Still, I prefer to stick to the fields that I know, so that I can at least try and grade something objectively as possible. Maybe I’ll succeed here. Who knows?

What I am qualified to report is on my experience with Jerry Barksdale who handles vocals and electronics. I had the good fortune of working with Barksdale straight out of high school. He identified as a satanist and had no qualms whatsoever with being an outlier in every possible sense of the word, an inspiration to anyone that met him. And he was and I assume still is. This information is only relevant as my portal of access to this world, and as a means of in any way assessing the material here, as at least partially from the mind of someone I knew to be entirely unafraid to follow their muse wherever that may lead. You can hear that here and the album is richer for it.

It goes without saying that, unless I’m grossly misinformed, there isn’t a glut of industrial goth in town. As such, Märcoda fill a special niche in the city that until now, I wasn’t sure we needed. The music is melodic despite the kind of heavy darkness inherent to the genre. Everything here is electronic, meaning that there are plenty of synthesizers and drum machines here, all in a tight lockstep with one another. The main attraction here are the vocal stylings of Kandace Ferguson, who has the kind of voice that sounds like it ought to be on one of those singing shows, or leading a band like Evanescence, which, while not my scene, is indicative of how strong a presence she has, more than any kind of stylistic leaning. Ferguson has a gentle voice, but one undercut by a power and capacity that speak to a coiled restraint, which is part and parcel the album as a whole.

As mentioned above, the music here isn’t anywhere near as dark as the choice of genre may imply, or perhaps that’s a symptom of my ignorance. Make no mistake, this is a collection dense with melancholy, but that is played more for drama -an at times imminently danceable sort of drama- than anything else. An easy comparison here would be Nine Inch Nails or KMFDM, both with a strong emphasis on club style beats. Not that I really know a ton about that or anything, but this definitely seems like the kind of thing that should a) be played in a really dark club with flashing lights, and b) that should have appeared on the original Crow soundtrack, which I submit as a good thing.

You be the judge below.