I've had the pleasure of watching Boston Marriage grow from humble beginnings. Now based in Orlando, the indie-rock band originally hails from my hometown, Port St. Lucie. I was hooked from the first single, "Rachel in the Dark Room." Released in March 2017, the song was shrouded in mystery and quickly intrigued our small scene. A month later, Boston Marriage released a four-song EP, Personal Space, that I fondly remember previewing as test mixes in the drummer's car. They relocated to Orlando in early 2018 and continued crafting their indie/emo-adjacent sound.
The current cast is Kris Lane on guitar and vocals, complemented by the vocals and guitar of Melissa Pereira. Drummer Shane O’Brien and bassist Kaylie Sang (of Orlando shoegaze band Saeros) fill out the ranks.
The group started, as so many others do, between friends. Lane and Pereira shared a fondness for singing, which led them to forge their signature harmonies.
"Kris and I have been singing together for a long time,” Pereira told Folio Weekly. “At this point, harmonizing together has become second nature. We are always thinking of harmonies, if not singing them out loud, all the time, because you just can’t stop yourself!"
O' Brien, erstwhile guitarist of Jensen Beach’s post-hardcore powerhouse, Ghost Cat, switched instruments and joined soon after hearing the track “Gowns.” ("It was the first song I ever heard from Boston Marriage,” he said. “I remember instantly knowing that I wanted to be a part of this project when I heard an acoustic demo of it.") Soon the group started playing shows under the name Boston Marriage. "The name Boston Marriage was a 19th-century term used to describe the cohabitation of two women, independent of financial support from a man," Pereira explained.
The band played smaller venues and art spaces around the Treasure Coast, quickly garnering attention. That first single, featuring minor-key mirrored guitar and bass lines plus O’Brien's minimalist yet aggressive drumming, helped them break out across Florida.
"The wildest show we played was in Fort Lauderdale," Lane recalled. "We were playing when a highly intoxicated woman came in and started cheering us on. She ended up collecting dollar bills from half the room to throw on stage during our set. Then she got in a fight with Shane because we wouldn’t play a Joan Jett song. Classic."
O' Brien added, "I remember that lady walking up on stage to the drum set and making it rain on me with the money she collected. I believe there was around $50 dollars on stage after our set."
Making music under the indie-rock umbrella can be difficult considering the ambiguity of the genre and its often lackadaisical lyricism. While Boston Marriage embrace indie, they bring catchy guitar hooks, complex time signatures and intriguing lyrics to the table. The final verse of "Gowns" is emblematic: "I feel your heart as it beats beneath your skin, and I'm counting the minutes until you let me in."
At first, Boston Marriage tunes tended to begin with a guitar riff and a lyrical brainstorming session between Lane and Pereira. Then the song would be brought to the group where the music is orchestrated. More recently, however, song like "Man Who Wasn't There" and "Know You Were" were born of a more group-oriented approach.
"I feel like we have learned and grown a lot since writing our first EP,” said Pereira. “We have started writing songs more as a group now, and each of us brings something interesting to the table."
Boston Marriage comes to Northeast Florida Thursday, Oct. 31 as part of Candied Fest 2019, a DIY smorgasbord organized by the Bug House collective.