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