Marble Index

Watch Your Candles Watch Your Knives

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The Marble Index excited a good deal of interest with the muscular punch of their self-titled debut album, a disc critics often tipped into the garage heap. That's unlikely to be the fate of their sophomore set, not because the trio have left their verve behind, but because they've brilliantly refined their sound. And that sound, thanks to Scott Shields' exceptional production, is big and bold, splashy and brash, much like Marble itself. Even so, Shields astutely brings to the fore all the subtle nuances of the trio's music, much of which was only partially apparent in the past. For example, by bending a single guitar note, Brad Germain can momentarily transform an angular post-punker like "I Don' Want to Try to Change Your Life" into an evocative western, or with a single chord change evoke the Beatles, as he does on "All That I Know." Watch Your Candles Watch Your Knives is filled with these supple genre shifts. The thoroughly infectious "Know" splashes from the exhilaration of old-school punk to the exuberance of the British Invasion, while "Couldn't Do Without" surfs down the "Pipeline" between Gang of Four-ish verses and a '60s flavored pop chorus. Elsewhere, garage punk is mixed up with gothic drones; goth rock swirls around the indie scene and the new wave, and edgy, bass-driven rhythms slide into smoother pop. "We Always Complain" has it all -- swirly psychedelia, chant-along rabble-rousing, a fiery rock chorus, and verses that would feel equally at home in Carnaby Street or the '80s indie scene. The sheer beauty of it is, the trio never draw attention to their exceedingly clever arrangements, so seamless are the shifts, so supple the song's structures, and so organic the song's feel. They make it seem so natural, so simple, never giving away just how much attention to detail was required. With Watch, the Marble Index have taken a dramatic leap forward, a jump magnified by their now fast maturing thoughtful and insightful lyrics. A simply magnificent set.

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