The first question that inevitably comes up among fans of The Marked Men is: Will the band ever release a new album? The influential power pop four-piece has occasionally assembled over the last couple of years to play shows here and there, making them “active” in a technical sense, but as far as recorded material goes, they haven’t released a full-length since 2008’s Ghosts. So will the world ever hear a new album from them? The answer, according to guitarist Mark Ryan, is no.
“We did everything we were gonna do. We accomplished everything we wanted to with that band so I’m not sure there’s much more to do,” Ryan says. “And if we did do something, it would just be different and it wouldn’t be what people think of as The Marked Men.”
The band’s members have since moved on to new projects. Ryan is now five albums deep into Mind Spiders along with drummer Mike Throneberry. Guitarist/singer Jeff Burke has kept busy with Radioactivity and Lost Balloons, and bassist Joe Ayoub plays in Low Culture. But it seems punk rock’s Voltron will likely never reform to make a new Marked Men record.
Thankfully, the band has compiled a 16-track collection of B-sides called On the Other Side and, unsurprisingly, their scattered assortment of singles is a stronger release than any works by the bands that have tried in vain to mimic their style. It’s a bittersweet retrospective on the career of The Marked Men, the unrivaled masters of catchy hook-writing. It’s also a testament to the band’s sheer inability to write a bad song, as if they couldn’t churn out a dud if they were deliberately trying to.
On the Other Side includes songs from seven hard-to-find seven-inches and splits, as well as two previously unreleased songs, “Disappear” and “Go Cry.” It’s truly amazing that this band has better material sitting around on their cutting room floor than most bands have on greatest hits collections.
On the Other Side is out on November 23 from Dirtnap Records. Pre-order a copy from the label because it might just be the last Marked Men item you spend money on.