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Marnie Stern
- The Chronicles Of Marnia

Marnie Stern may feel torn, yet there’s no need to be – her musical legacy continues to energise and impress.

Apr 17th 2013 | Label: Kill Rock Stars/Planet
Bursting forth like a clusterbomb created by art-noise tricksters Ponytail and Lightning Bolt, Year Of The Glad, Marnie Stern's opening salvo on fourth album The Chronicles Of Marnia, sets the tone for the entire record. Still featuring the jawdropping fretwork dexterity that Stern's rightly renowned for, the track is a maelstrom of hypercolour explosions for the ears, her high-pitched vocals swinging from shrieking vowels to hushed murmurs, all evoking a sense of giddy joy. 

Yet Stern has always countered her manic musical presence with a lyrical inversion, straddling euphoria and melancholy in equal measure. And so it continues here: the raucous math-rock punch of You Don't Turn Down is punctuated by Stern's finger-tapping brilliance and a machine gun delivery in the middle third that decries, “I'm losing hope in my body”; Noonan's fizzing energy belies a tiredness as Stern implores, “Don't you want to be somebody?/And you kept on bringing me down”; while the kaleidoscopic singsong of Nothing Is Easy underscores Stern's proclivity for soldiering on. This continual tug-of-war is what electrifies Stern as a person and an artist, and The Chronicles Of Marnia perfectly captures this in all its effervescent glory. 

And the pendulum continues to swing – the one-two punch of closers Proof Of Life (with Stern imploring “All my life, it's based on fantasy/And all the gods, they've stopped talking to me” offering lows which seem bottomless) and the feverish Hell Yes (which quivers and jitters uncontrollably, and purred vocals “I won't give in/I won't give up/All I've got is time”). Marnie Stern may feel torn, yet there's no need to be – her musical legacy continues to energise and impress.


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