By Terry Quinn
Guitar-guru Marnie Stern returns to the music scene with her third, self-titled, full length, once again paired with percussion aficionado and Hella drummer, Zach Hill. While the album is technically proficient as anything in Stern and Hill’s back catalogue, daunting skills are hardly the primary focus. Instead it incorporates math rock inspired guitar and drum riffs into melodic pop song structures that are both catchy and dense; math rock made accessible. Stern’s childlike vocals reflect and guide the instrumentation, bringing a sense of vulnerability to these tracks that effectively glues everything together.
The constantly changing opening track, “For Ash” doubles as the album’s well deserving single, drawing listeners of varying tastes in with powerful technical builds and anthem-like vocals. Two other single worthy standouts, “Risky Biz” and, “Female Guitar Players Are The New Black” are likely to incite a variety of responses from listeners old and new. In both songs the vocals and instrumentation work together, reflecting each other’s tone and scale progressions. What makes these reflected progressions unique is the fact that they are eerily similar to the progressions of such teasing childhood rhymes as, “Nah-naah-na-naah-nah”. Marnie Stern was released on October 5th, 2010.
Emphasis Tracks: 1, 3, 4, 5, and 10