The punningly but charmingly titled Chronicles of Marnia represents something of a departure for Stern. Her previous two albums were underpinned by the frenetic, relentless, rhythmically inventive and propulsive drumming of Zach Hill.There's no doubt that he was instrumental (sorry) to the originality of Stern's compulsive drive to the outer-limits of bubble-gum math rock. At first listen, he's definitely missed on this album. But his absence opens up spaces which affords Stern the opportunity to elicit a type of light-and-shade texture to her music not really seen before. She shows a greater willingness to try out slightly different song structures without losing any of her signature sound. She's still recognisably the same Stern from MARNIE STERN and THIS IS IT AND I AM ... The curious thing is that, whereas before I'd have to spend time with each song to probe its structure and melodicism, now I have to spend an equal amount of time to probe each song to reconnect with those elements that are so indubitably Stern. Some might label CHRONICLES as a move to the center; and I have some sympathy with that. It's still a wonderful album; and there's nobody out there who sounds remotely like her (as far as I know ...)
I had never heard any Marnie Stern music but I saw that she was on the excellent Kill Rock Stars record lable, so I ordered the Chronicles of Marnia cd on the strenght of that. What an excellent cd this is. The songs are quirky in a really good way and all of the tunes get in to your head. The drummer is excellent too.
I highly recomment this cd and I will be buying further Marnie Stern cd's in the very near future.
A triumph. I thought the last album was brilliant, but Marnie Stearn just gets better and better. There may not be so much flashy guitarwomanship (is this a word? it is now!) as on the first three albums, but that doesn't matter as it's better integrated into fantastic songs; there are some truly beautiful tunes. The woman is a genius.