12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing and dreamy, 26 Jun 2013
This is, hands down, one of my favorite albums of all time by any artist, electropop or not.
I am a big Ladytron fan, and heard just a one-minute snippet preview of the instrumental section from Submariner about 5-6 months before the release of this album. That one minute snippet gave me chills and I pre-ordered the album on Marnie's pledge music site, trusting that I would like what was eventually released. I loved it. If you are a Ladytron fan, you'll notice some differences lyrically and melodically, with less "grittiness" or distortion in the synths as "Velocifero"-era Ladytron, but it almost feels like a dreamier continuation of Ladytron's "Gravity the Seducer" album. Think "90 degrees" with multilayered melodies and soft, arpeggiated organs. But Helen Marnie's voice and vocal range is excellent on this album, making use of her trademark softness but showing her talents with melodies that are really engaging. There is a somewhat dark undertone to part of the album not unlike typical Ladytron tracks, but without Mira Aroyo and Reuben Wu, the darkness feels less aggressive, more subdued and more emotionally vulnerable, and comes out as a hint of sadness underlying some of the tracks, although one could say that the opener "The Hunter" and "Sugarland" are the closest we get to aggression on this album. All tracks stand on their own well, but there are some that stand out just a little more. "Hearts on Fire" is as close as you'll get to a summer anthem with Marnie, with the catchy chorus, but still retains a dreamy, oceanic feel. "Laura" is one of my favorites because it is so haunting. Marnie layers her voice throughout and evokes a sense of mourning in the chorus, hinting at the disappearance and possible violent death of this mystery woman. In "Gold," perfect ending to the album, it's hard to tell if the words are about a love that has died or a love that still burns, but either way the lyrics evoke sadness. The lyrics "softly now, reach out and make your pillow in my chest," get me every time. But without question, the masterpiece on this album is "Submariner." Almost 8 minutes of immersion into the ocean depths via Marnie's amazing musical layering on this track. I enjoy the first minutes of the song in which she sings, but my favorite part is when her voice gives way half way through to melody and countermelodies layered beautifully (at times 3-4 melodies at once, with the main melody being a synth/filtered form of bells) that make me feel like I have been transported to another world, a world that is an endless beach and smells of salt, where I feel the sun on my face and the breeze on my skin. You can almost picture coastal Iceland where she recorded the album. In sum, the whole album has a dreamy, subdued quality that really does feel like the ocean, part of Marnie's inspiration for the album. The melodies are arpeggiated often, which adds to the dreaminess. There's also a hint of sentimentality of a bygone era. I typically pick and choose which Ladytron tracks I listen to, but Marnie's solo effort has no lackluster songs. In sum, this album is dreamy, a little haunting, and very well-made.
You will not be disappointed, Ladytron fan or not. It is an amazing work of artistry.