MRCH find creative freedom in restrictive times on ‘No-Holds-Barred’ EP

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There’s an ongoing debate in certain circles lately about whether or not the music of 2020 should reflect the mood of 2020. And, if and when we look back 20 years from now (assuming we make it out of this), will the songs we were listening to actually complement how we were all feeling?

For Phoenix electronic-pop duo MRCH, the year spent in quarantine and lockdown has produced a song that contradicts any perceived feelings about the year we’ve all had. It’s a bubbling synth track called “I Like You,” and it’s featured on the groups excellent new EP, this month’s No-Holds-Barred.

“Making songs is how we tell ourselves we aren’t alone, and hopefully how we tell other people they aren’t alone either,” MRCH’s Mickey Pangburn tells Wonderland back in August. “Ironically, the hardest year for us has produced perhaps the cheeriest of MRCH songs, and absolutely one of our favorites.”

“I Like You” somehow flows seamlessly with the other three genre-hopping tracks on the new MRCH EP, as Mickey and Jesse Pangburn craft a magnetic sound that skillfully balances modern electronic strains like synthwave and alt-pop but also leans into the classic new-retro sounds of Saint Etienne and Pet Shop Boys.

Whether or not No-Holds-Barred emerges as a true-to-life record of 2020 remains to be seen, but if it doesn’t, that just might speak to the pure timelessness of it. Dive into it below, and also give a listen to MRCH’s recent quarantine cover of Talking Heads’ classic “Psycho Killer,” posted this week to the ‘gram.