Album Review: Brad Marino – Grin & Bear It

3.5/5

Brad Marino, the wildly prolific favorite pop punk son of New Hampshire, continues his love affair with powerful melodies, singalong choruses, and an affinity for The Ramones on his latest LP. Grin & Bear It, like Marino’s previous efforts, perfectly combines charged up punk rock with the pop brilliance of 1960’s girl groups and musicians like Buddy Holly for an irresistible mix.

The album opens with “Back Again,” including some of his most memorable guitar leads to date, but the title song is the obvious stand-out here with the powerful drum and distorted chords and Marino’s clear declaration to just chill. “Sometimes in life, well, you just have to ‘grin and bear it.’ It could be through a conversation at work, an annoying family member’s opinion on the world at large, or just riding the bus or train on a rainy day. It’s not all negative, though; as the song says, ‘Coming in in second means you still finished the race,’ and that’s really all that matters!”

Other strong moments here include the catchy “Hung Up” and “First Stone,” a new wave/power pop ditty that could have come from Donnie Iris at his peak. Keeping the record in the pop-punk family, Screeching Weasel’s Mike Kennerty (also of All American Rejects) mixed it. Marino tapped members of the New England mafia—including Kurt Baker, Geoff Palmer, and Zack Sprague—and pop punk great Joe Queer to help back up these songs on drums and bass. Natalie Sweet’s distinctive vocals provide a stellar contrast to Marino’s laidback delivery on “Over My Head,” the album closer. Marino doesn’t reinvent the wheel on Grin & Bear It, but to be fair, no one’s really expressed any need for an alternative to the wheel at this point.

Purchase this album.

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