Friday, November 28, 2008

Marmalade Souls - In Stereo - 2007

It is not unusual for a new artist to display the influence of performers who have come before, but some artists go a full step further into deliberately styling themselves on earlier eras. There are young jazz musicians who dress up in suits and play bebop as if the late 1940s had never ended, and there are country artists who sing and play as though nothing had ever come after Hank Williams. Marmalade Souls, a Swedish trio making its debut with In Stereo, fits into this more extreme form of musical endeavor; in their case, they play music that apes the British Invasion sound of the mid-'60s. The first hint of this comes with the title, which references the era of the '60s prior to about 1967, when LPs came in both mono and stereo, with an indication of which edition the disc was on the cover. The cover of In Stereo also looks like that of a mid-'60s LP, advertising "14 tracks previously unreleased," and listing some of them. On the disc itself, Michael Klemmé, who sings most of the lead vocals, plays most of the instruments, and co-writes the songs with Johanna Klemmé, pays tribute to the John Lennon of 1964-1965 for the most part, coming up with tracks that sound like they were intended to fit snugly onto Beatles for Sale or Help! are first and foremost with him. When he ranges slightly afield to give a soulful reading to "Baby Come Back," for example, he isn't thinking of old R&B music of the '50s, he's thinking of Sometimes, he evokes a specific song; "In My Mind (There Is No Doubt)" inescapably recalls "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," for example, and there are little arranging details -- a guitar riff here, an "ooh la-la-la" background vocal there -- that have been borrowed. But mostly he just writes in the style of '60s British pop/rock as if to add another ghost band to the ranks of the Hollies, Gerry & the Pacemakers, and so many others. Clearly, however, the BeatlesPaul McCartney's vocal on "Oh Darling" from Abbey Road, which was sung in that style. When Johanna Klemmé takes lead vocals on "Daydreams" and "Say Goodbye," things don't change very much; it's rather like the effect of hearing the Silkie do their hit version of "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" instead of the Beatles. Whatever one may think about the retrospective nature of the approach, this is still newly written, often clever music. For instance, after Michael Klemmé has spent most of the song of the same name singing about how wonderful it is to be "Famous," Johanna Klemmé sneaks in with a witty riposte. "Life is so cool when you're famous," he sings, "and everybody loves you, loves you." "Until tomorrow, when you're history," she replies. As with the pop music of the mid-'60s, most of the songs are love songs, but Marmalade Souls show that they can be smart as well as reverent. -AMG

Rate this posting:


Cliff. said...

Loved this album so much it's hard to choose a fave track from it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. One of the best things posted to the blog ever!

I thought it started slow with just a sixties psychedelic pastiche, but then it got better and better.

Rolf said...

Mimics the period but has its own hooks. Just lots of fun. Thanks.

deano6 said...

Loved this album from the get-go. Too bad they've already broken up. Daydreams is my favorite track but the album as a whole has moved into my top five of all time. And I'm 47 years old.

Anonymous said...

Hy Curtis, please could you re-post this album? the link is dead.

Curty Ray said...



Blog Widget by LinkWithin