A trio of friends and former University of Washington roommates, Nick Ward, Matt Bishop, and Philip Kobernik started playing music with each other as college students. The weekend jammers eventually grew to a sturdy band of seven that has become a popular name among residents of the Pacific Northwest. Using their numbers to harmonize and layer an arsenal of instruments on top of each other, Hey Marseilles (pronounced Mar-say) leans towards the classification of an orchestra. They’re not trying to scam anyone with their French name either; their sound is certainly francophile with the addition of a mandolin, accordion, and organ scattered throughout their music. The Old World instrumentals take you back to streets of Montmartre with gypsies and artists scattering the cobblestone pathway, but you’re immediately brought back to the 21st century once Bishop’s voice breaks the sway of music. Comparable to Michael Stipe, Bishop and his lyrics carry a delectable tone that you’d imagine would be better suited for a band with a bit more… angst. But it’s a more than satisfying fit for the music Hey Marseilles produces. Bishop’s voice is strong and steady, yet hints of a soft heart bursting with romanticism. The Seattle-based band has become a master of underrated love songs; ones that don’t blast you in the face with mushiness and clichés. They are subtle and simple and even a bit coy, which is just what the best type of love should be.
Hey Marseilles plays on the Sasquatch stage at 12 pm on Sunday, May 27th.