The Black Mariah Theater, a sister duo based out of Kansas City, have released an EP called Mean To Be Mean it’s their first since the release of their 2020 album entitled Patron Saint. With Analiease on drums and Sophia on vocals and guitar, these two bring retro energy to the modern music world.
Black Mariah Theater – Mean To Be Mean
Previously spotlighted on our First Signs of Love Feature, Analiese and Sophia aka The Black Mariah Theater have no doubts about their sound. The same 70s groove can be found in all of their work, coupled with vocals that ring similar to Amy Winehouse. Themes of desire and heartbreak-fueled emotions make their music easy to relate to, especially for young women. Their flashy clothing draws you in, but their vocals and catchy guitar rhythms make you stay.
Mean To Be Mean begins with a funky tune that confidently asserts an aching for attention. Entitled Gin & Attention, the lyrics perfectly encapsulate a drunken one-night stand. This song sets the stage for the theme of empowerment and sexual freedom that is consistent throughout the record.
The title track follows the leading song, which begged for a quick hit of attention. Mean To Be Mean does quite the opposite, expressing an aversion to a particular someone. With lyrics like, “But I guess you just bring out the worst in me” and “We were no good for each other / Always just pressing buttons / Fighting until we scream” this song casually confesses being over someone once and for all. Listening to this song inspires getting over your toxic ex as if they were a little speed bump in the road.
The final four songs of the album are more mournful and sentimental than the beginning tracks.
Shakedown starts with a quiet yet vengeful guitar strum, complementing the metaphorical lyrics that tell a story of being on the receiving end of cheating, lying and manipulation. It almost acts as a prelude to the previous songs; a reason behind the carelessness and need for quick love. After a period of mistreatment, one grows tired. Leaving is the only next step.
Broken Bone tells listeners how hard it was to initially break the ties of the relationship. Despite having a “heart made out of stone”, the singer’s lover still managed to gain enough power to break it into two and forever change them.
The next song is similar to the first song in its expression for attention but is more personable. Expensive Champagne is a song of jealousy, whereas the first one was a selfish fulfilment.
“I know she’s harder to forget than me / Because I can’t stop thinking about her”
That final lyric repeats, highlighting the singer’s envy against her ex-lover’s new girl.
Ending with another heartbreak blues-esque song, Old Flame. This song reflects the overall back-and-forth emotion of the album. The song questions the singer’s own decisions regarding her past romantic interest. Why does she return to her ex despite knowing that it only leads to pain? Does she gain anything from running back? Just in the same minute that she calls herself out, she still plays around with the idea of going back to her so-called old flame, wondering if she missed the opportunity to do so.
The Black Mariah Theater keep 70s rock alive with their funky jams that call for dancing and groovy outfits. Undeniably inspired by that era of rock bands, these two sisters are taking a once male-dominated genre and making it their own.
In totality, this album is universally relatable as it has heavy themes of heartache, anger, regret and romantic yearning. Although there are a range of emotions in this album, the songs seem to be part of one storyline.
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Words Kylie Bacot