Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Muscle & Marrow : "Love"
This Portland based duo caught my attention when I saw them open for Author and Punisher. Then when I went back to listen to their album that had been sitting around on my hard drive I was not as impressed. The album's heart beat comes to life with an electronic pulse. Kira Clark's emotive vocals are layered in a dizzy spiral of melodies. Then the gears get shifted to the darker and more introspective "Black Hole". The drums are very liberate and create another throbbing drone coated in her impressive melodies which has matured since the last album. The time spent at Machines With Magnets in Rhode Island was well served. The abrasive layers have not all been scrubbed from the songs. Most of them are just more carefully produced. To say "Womb" is doom, would be an exaggeration. It is heavy and holds a similar oppressive punch. It is not as rock in the delivery of these moments as say the last Chelsea Wolfe album. There is a similar darkness handing over the mood, though it is haunted by much different ghosts.
Live Clark would unleash straight up metal scream and here she sticks to a much more accessible croon. This album is far from being as sell-out, it is however refined. They drift more on the intangible river into the dark places of the soul on the more brooding "The Drooling Mouth". She coos over various noise that all she wants is love. The more aggressive streak to her voice begins to cut through on "Sacs of Teeth" . She lets out a few fully committed shrieks as this dirge sounds like a grim take on a Siouxsie Sioux singing a trip hop ballad. "Bereft Body" is much more fragile. It floats on this cloud until a wave of noise washes over it. There is also more subtle beginning to "Light" that doesn't bang into a heavier dynamic until a minute and a half into the song and this is a brief tease. So you can't accuse them of being formulaic in their approach to song writing. It took additional listens for that one to really grow on me. The same can be said of that album as a whole. The heavier mood is more restrained at times but still just as potent , and often even more so with the improvements in the vocal delivery on this album. The lighter shades which contrast starkly with the darkness are going to take some getting used to, but I'll round this one up to a 9.5 and see how it grows on me.