Marina Allen glides on angelic highs, surfing the husky deep; she is one of the great new voices of her generation. Writing songs that carry notes from other realms; these are kitchen table tales about love and fear, the capturing of the wild heart, sketching the breaking of dawn, bringing real life back to life. Every song on stunning debut album ‘Candlepower’ is a tick box of influences, asides, inspirations, quickfire theories, storylines and melodic progressions that galvanise a chemical reaction for each dramatic scene that unfolds on this genre-traversing seven song epic.
One listen to opening track ‘Oh, Louise’ underlines the range of Marina’s talent, it’s a filmic play on words, with an arrangement that’s like a Kate Bush dream sequence. It’s the perfect foil for the plaintive strum of ‘Sleeper Train’, a haunting, folky paean fit for Judee Sill brought up to date with some echoey electric guitar; or the conversational ‘Believer’; with a nod to Joni Mitchell in the lyrics it sounds every bit like Simon And Garfunkel at their Big Apple best listening to the ‘7 O’Clock News’ re-imagined on Sunset. The stuff of legend for a voice that surfs many musical tangents, hovers, and persists, that stings with honesty; morphing from Karen Carpenter’s gentle reverence to Laura Nyro’s soulful grit, moving through the phases like some possessed Dada performance artist before throwing in a melody from Joni at her jazziest or from the close harmonies of the lamented Roches when they flipped out with Robert Fripp. ‘Candlepower’ is a juxtaposition of melodies, an achingly beautiful set of songs set against the clank of the mundane world, a beguiling commentary on the everyday and everywhere. It’s all here, in under 20 minutes… every second counts.
A1 Oh, Louise
A2 Original Goodness
A3 Belong Here
A4 Sleeper Tran