Friday, June 8, 2012

Marriages Are Dark

Ever the busy dude, former VSS stick man and current Red Sparowes drummer, Dave Clifford forwarded me his latest record by his latest band Marriages and although I’m probably biased the record is a damn fine thing. How he does it all is beyond me...between doing endless amounts of PR, drumming in the Sparowes, overseeing the forthcoming VSS reissues, and jumping behind the kit for Marriages the guy should probably not be alive. Anyway, a marriage made in heaven of sorts, Marriages features three fifths of Red Sparowes including Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals and guitar) and Greg Burns (bass and synthesizer). Their debut album, Kitsune, kind of takes what they do with the Sparowes and moves it into heavier, dreamier, and somewhat more sensual territory.

Mixing post rock atmospherics with an almost ghostlike series of vocals, the band creates this sort of unearthly, detached, dark realm that's difficult to walk away from. With swirly guitars, Dave's creative drumming, and those lackadaisically angelic vocals Kitsune sounds like a long lost 4ad record that Ivo never got around to releasing. It's artful, expansive, trippy, heavy, and hypnotic stuff that can barely contain itself on one CD. As a whole the record has this ominous sense of foreboding throughout that's a result of several excursions into heavy, tuned down, almost prog-like instrumentals. Let there be no doubt, Marriages can play and drone on with the best of them and as a result Kitsune is a record that rocks and rocks hard.

Ghostly atmospherics and haunting vocals aside Marriages have enough massive chord progressions to get your head banging and your imagination flying. Kitsune may only be six songs and 25 minutes or so long, but one gets the sense that given half the chance Marriages could play forever lost in their own instrumental miasma. These guys play so well together and whether it's their "day job," or this journey into the vastness of the unknown their chemistry is nearly deadly. Kitsune is an amazing effort from three of the best musicians and artists on the planet and as a result it's pretty essential listening.

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