# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Marines - Be the Morning

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 28 / 9 / 2011

Marines - Be the Morning
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Unpromising, yet surprisingly diverse debut album from Sydney-based band the Marines who could turn out to be a major force

Be the Morning’ by Sydney band the Marines is one of those albums that really shouldn’t work at all if we are to believe all that has been said about them. Recording this debut in a workman’s cottage with a portable studio and with harmonies recorded in main man Dan K’s car on a Mac book as he drove around the streets of Sydney makes it sound like we’re in for a challenging ride to say the least. Couple that with the comparisons the band have garnered; Todd Rundgren, Wilco, Queen and, here we go again, Brian Wilson and we’re already beginning to lose interest, although mixing the work of Queen with that of Wilco or Wilson does sound like a challenge of sorts. But, and it has to be said that much of it success is down to writer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dan K’s obvious musical talent, ‘Be the Morning’ even from the first play throws up so much more than the sum of all those influences and initial reservations. From the off, ‘Brave New World’, those Queen comparisons prove well-founded and although it takes at least the first minute to adapt to Dan K’s vocals and, while the first few lines might make certain listeners cringe a time or two, as soon as those harmonies come in all is forgiven and the song reveals itself for what it really is; a well-constructed alternative pop song which prompts us to add Radiohead to those above influences. It’s also the first indication that, although Dan K writes most of the band’s material and it’s his musical vision that leads the band, the Marines are not just his backing band. Guitarists Michael Kirchengast and Ben Carew both impress on this opening track and the rhythm section of Christian Gibson on drums and Darren Moffatt’s bass prove they are more than capable on their chosen instruments. The second song on the album, ‘Borderline’, has a jazzy feel in places and Dan K’s vocals here, while throwing a passing nod to Tim Buckley, display more of what is obviously Dan K’s own voice rather than sounding like a clone of his influences. ‘Sweet Air’ follows with harmonies that Wilson would be proud of and one seriously wonders if these particular parts were really recorded in a car, so perfect they are. This song is also the first indication that Dan K can write sweet, instantly appealing melodies without going off on tangents which can be a little unsettling until the songs are more familiar. ‘Sweet Air’ is a perfect pop song but far from lightweight. There is a lot going on and it fits together brilliantly, and is a complex song that initially sounds so simple. The title song, ‘Be the Morning’ is the best Lou Reed sound-alike since label mate Perry Keyes recorded ‘Lou Reed & Robert Quine’ on last years ‘Johnny Ray’s Downtown’ album. It’s as good as Keyes’s song, which is high praise indeed. It leaves you wanting more of this type of song on this album. It’s a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll song and comes almost as a little light relief compared to the intensity and complexity of some of the tracks on either side of it. That said, ‘Trouble’ which follows has another of Dan K’s prettiest melodies and the harmonies again on this song are exceptional. There are moments like the first minute or so of ‘Slow Moving Trains’ where your finger hovers over the skip button waiting for something to happen, but as soon as Dan’s singing ceases on this particular track and the instruments take over the song it turns into a thing of beauty. Sometimes the music does the talking so much better than words. ‘Dreams’ shows that the band can always take the power-pop route if all else fails; it’s a gritty, melodic slice of pure pop that just screams out to be played over and over. The short acoustic track which is ‘hidden’ after the melee which ends ‘71’, the closing track on the album, ends ‘Be The Morning’ on a quiet, reflective note and shows once again how diverse this band is. Given the right exposure the Marines could turn out to be a major force.

Track Listing:-
1 Brave New World
2 Borderline
3 Sweet Air
4 Be The Morning
5 Trouble
6 Slow Moving Trains
7 The Way
8 Celluloid
9 Dreams
10 71

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