REVIEW: Marginal Man – Identity (1984)

Let me break it to you. They’re better than Fugazi, they’re better than Black Flag, and they’re absolutely better than anything coming out of the NYC hardcore scene at the time. They’re Marginal Man, the 5 piece hardcore punk band from DC.

Rising from the ashes of Artificial Peace’s breakup, former members Steve Polcari (vocalist), Mike Manos (drummer), and Pete Murray (guitar) teamed with bassist Andrew Lee and guitarist Kenny Inouye culminating in one of the best punk records of all time: Identity.

Identity is perhaps one of the most under appreciated records in American punk history. With the raw energy of Minor Threat and varying artistic influences of Dead Kennedys, Identity’s unwillingness to stagnate would be refreshing even if it was released in the past 30 years.

Identity precedes the slow grinding emotional struggle of Black Flag’s My War while simultaneously birthing the start of what eventually lead to emo. Songs Fallen Pieces and Torn Apart’s slow grueling rhythm is complemented by Pandora’s Box’s wiry agility, the fast flying punk you might expect from Dead Kennedys or Crucifix. The whole album a patchwork of distinct guitar licks and tricks, drummer Mike Manos and bassist Andre Lee are tuned in and driving, created the perfect rhythmic bed for Marginal Man’s fierce guitar and vocal work.

You can check out an interview with Kenny Inouye from 2012 on This Is Albatross.

For fans of: Minor Threat, Black Flag, Rites of Spring

Like Marginal Man? Give these a listen: Beefeater, Red C, Geisha Girls

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