# 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

Marnie Stern - The Chronicles of Marnia

  by Paul Waller

published: 8 / 3 / 2013

Marnie Stern - The Chronicles of Marnia
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Format: CD


Innovative fourth album from New York-based guitarist and songwriter Marnie Stern, which sounds like a superior version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

One of the most interesting and innovative guitar players to come out of the US recently is Marnie Stern. Along with fellow six string virtuoso Kaki King, these two ladies are not only showing that ridiculously technical playing can sound cool in the setting of a pop song, but that incredible full length records can be created time after time as long as the songs themselves doesn’t suffer at the hands of this gifted expertise. Oddly, if I had received this new Marnie Stern album and was told that it was the latest Yeah Yeah Yeah’s record I would have totally believed it. Putting on the first track ‘Year of the Glad’ seals it but even if I found cause to doubt due to the fact that the guitar playing is far more intricate, clever, technical and experimental than YYY's had ever committed to wax previously, as soon as Marnie makes quirky monkey noises at the 1.20 minute mark I would have no reason to doubt that Karen O was on the microphone. Put this down to Marnie’s continuing mission to deliver eclectic guitar work within the confines of a catchy pop tune if you willm but once you recognise it the similarities to YYY’s is undeniable. Saying this it is not a negative thing. ‘The Chronicles of Marnia’ is a far better album than either ‘Show Your Bones’ or ‘It’s Blitz’ ever were. She delivers her best guitar work to date on ‘You Don’t Turn Down’, which combines an enigmatic demonstration of mathematical finger tapping and the thickest crunchy riffs this side of mid-era Led Zeppelin. If you prefer to be awed by a great tune with massive hooks, then ‘East Side Glory’ takes the floaty melodies from the likes of Juliana Hatfield and the Breeders, yet keeps that incredible guitar playing intact. The only negative this reviewer can find is that there is nothing on here as whacked out as say ‘Logical Volume’ from her 2007 debut album, a LP I still listen to regularly today. I loved the multi-layered guitars and jarring sonics that ebbed and flowed from the discordant production. Alternatively, this record is a lot cleaner sounding, yet the distorted guitar is enough to avoid accusations of sell out. It will be interesting to see where she goes next, but more to the point it’ll be interesting to see if YYY’s can match this stellar effort later this year. The bar has been raised.

Track Listing:-
1 Year of the Glad
2 You Don't Turn Down
3 Noonan
4 Nothing is Easy
5 Immortals
6 The Chronicles of Marnia
7 Still Moving
8 East Side Glory
9 Proof of Life
10 Hell Yes

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