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Song You Need to Know: Marvell, ‘Needle’

Inspired by the true story of a battle with cancer, “Needle” sees Marvell delivering one of the year’s most emotionally devastating songs.


Sydney outfit Marvell have unleashed one of the most impressive, emotionally-devastating tracks of the year, with “Needle” serving as the latest single from their forthcoming EP.

Set to appear on next month’s Comfort is King, “Needle” is the true definition of a ‘powerful song’, with its lyrics built around a true journey that describes the hardships, trauma, and impossible hope that accompanies a cancer battle.

Kicking off with soft acoustic guitar, the vocals of Max Marvell begin the song before joining with brother Tom in the second verse. Mimicking the lonely road such a health battle can be, and the way in which company can help ease the difficulty, “Needle” soon builds into a massive climax, leaving the listener stunned as it fades out.

“We wrote ‘Needle’ when our then-drummer BJ was battling testicular cancer,” explains Max Marvell. “We wanted to write about how we felt, imagining ourselves in his shoes and really trying to understand what he was going through, rather than just telling his story.

“The track starts as something contemplative, going through the fear and the uncertainty then quickly evolving into a more powerful song, daring at the possibility of hope. We wanted to blend the visceral, contradictory feelings of such a devastating situation with the sterile, procedural reality that we saw BJ going through. All in all, this track aims to capture that feeling of staring down the barrel of something terrible, when all the odds are against you, and saying fuck it – I’m going to give all I’ve got to make it through.”

Likewise, the video for “Needle” is an equally-visceral experience, with Dear Seattle frontman Brae Fisher taking on writing and directorial duties for the clip.

As the band explains, the video is representative of the song’s inspiration, with its content depicting a man struggling out of captivity, overcoming each difficulty as it comes his way, and ultimately finding salvation.

“The video tells a symbolic story that relates to the lyrics and BJ’s battle with cancer, but also depicts the themes of struggle in a more general way,” Max continues. “We bounced around ideas and initially wanted to paint a very raw picture of cancer specifically, but decided that representing the themes in a more abstract way would allow the audience to dig a little deeper to find their own meaning.

“We wanted people to empathise, rather than just be told a story. We let Brae Fisher take the story and put his own spin on it, writing and directing a film that depicts a nameless man escaping from unknown captors. We wanted to capture the desperation and panic of the escape as the man runs away from something that is unknown to the audience.”

As mentioned previously, “Needle” is set to appear on Marvell’s Comfort is King EP when it releases on December 9th, with the group performing a live show at the Avalon Beach RSL Club just days before.

As the band explain though, making a collection of work always ends up a little differently than it might have begun, with the darkness shining through on what was supposed to be a fun record, but ultimately becoming a cathartic experience.

“Ultimately, we wanted to make a fun, energetic record, despite some of the other stuff that life had thrown at us and our mates, so that we could address all the painful parts that led up to this record while not letting it take us over completely,” explains Max.

“We wanted to try and find the fun and the life amongst it all to keep us going and that’s what this record is about; acknowledging the shitty times but also remembering why we play and make music – because it’s a blast and brings us all together despite anything else.”

Marvell’s “Needle” is officially released on Thursday, November 25th, while their Comfort is King EP is released on December 9th.

Marvell Live Dates 2022

Saturday, December 4th
Avalon Beach RSL Club, Avalon Beach, NSW
Tickets: Oztix