Monday, 9 January 2012

Marble Valley 'Breakthrough' Review

Marble Valley
Sea Records

Released back in October, this is the 4th offering from Steve West (Pavement) and his long time ‘other’ band and it has been my soundtrack to the early part of this fledgling new year.

I had never come across this band before, but they were easy to like; from West’s laid back vocals to the catchy and insistent melodies, I found time passed quickly with this album playing. They have crafted a delicate collection of sonic landscapes that range from the country-tinged clear blue mountain lake of Sweet Compression and The Dan Map Experience to the rockier outcrops of Tokyo Hands and Groover, the lithe guitars of which demand one’s attention with their measured persistence. Even the seemingly Burns inspired ode to drinking, Chin Chin which closes the album, is alive with understated charm.

Lyrically, there’s some skill here as shown in the bittersweet, philosophical phrasing of Good Life, which laments that other than dying everything has been grand! Across the 13 songs on offer here there is a sense that attention to detail and an ear for a pun matter more than mainstream success, although the word pop isn’t one I would hesitate to level at this album at times and that is no insult. Compared to some of the music you will hear this year, this definitely deserves your attention!

Matt Rhodie

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