Thursday, April 22, 2021
– Mandolin Orange is no longer. The duo of Andrew Marlin and and Emily Frantz are now making music as Watchhouse.
And the duo released their first music under the new moniker on Wednesday with "Better Way."
"During the last year, most of us have been told that the most helpful thing we can do is stay home and out of the way, protecting others by doing as little as possible," Watchhouse said on its website. "For some, that rare respite has offered the chance to reflect on what is important and to reimagine what is possible. That has been the case for Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, the couple known for more than a decade now as Mandolin Orange. In 2020, they raised their toddler. They recorded their most audacious album yet. And they decided it was finally time to change their name — to Watchhouse, an identity that reflects their true intentions.
"Mandolin Orange was born out of my 21-year-old mind. The name isn't what I strive for when I write, because it doesn't match what I picture when I invite people into my songs, new or old," said Marlin. "We have long been burdened by the dichotomy between our band name and the music we strive to create. If you've heard the songs, you know they are personal. Now that we can see a future where music is a shared experience again, we're defining the space we share."
During Marlin's difficult teenage years, a family of friends would take him on biannual trips to a tiny Chesapeake Bay hunting cabin, suspended by stilts above a tidal island and accessible only by boat. He would sit there, sans electricity and electronic devices, "reveling in an admixture of silence and communion—thinking, looking, being," according to the website. That site was known as The Watch House. "The last year afforded Marlin and Frantz a chance to reset and restart," the website said. "Watchhouse is their vital first step."
"We're different people than when we started this band," said Marlin. "We're setting new intentions, taking control of this thing again."
Together since 2009, Mandolin Orange released two albums on their own before putting out four with Yep Roc. The most recent release was 2019's "Tides of a Teardrop."
Marlin wrote "Better Way," a gentle song with a shimmery feel.
"We are lucky that Mandolin Orange means something to many people and have no intention of leaving behind our older material," the duo tweeted. "It's as important to us as ever, and we can't wait to bring it back to your ears as Watchhouse alongside a brand new album we're particularly fond of."