Muscle & Marrow – “Love” Review
It is fitting this album is called “Love” because of the emotional shift this Portland based duo has made. In some parts made as a requiem to singer Kira Clark’s grand- mother, the album shifts from the almost doomy dirges and shed some of the noise to explore a more feminine side. This album has a greater emphasis placed on electronics and melody than what the band wrote previously. “My Fear” finds the album pulsing to life with layers of hypnotic vocals wrapping them selves around the beat. Heaviness is very relative. To me darkness is heavier than just being loud and fast…or loud and slow if we are talking about doom. So if thinking of heavy in more of an emotional context than a purely sonic one “Black Hole” gets heavier. The drums strike with chain gang deliberation and displays how Clark’s vocals have grown in their prowess to evocatively express emotion.
Like most of this new journey “the Drooling Mouth” is another step further into the shadows of their highly refined new sound. Ghosts of a post-industrial wasteland haunt the song as it ebbs over the sparse yet steady drumming, as Kira coos over various noises that all she wants is love. After “Sacs of Teeth” the album becomes much more fragile, and asks fans of their heavier work to grow with them. “Bereft Body” is a melody light as a cloud until it fades out on a wave of noise. The closing song “Light” holds off a minute and a half into the song before banging to life. The band admits to moving into an almost poppier direction, but it would be an exaggeration of the word pop, in that it is far from following the pre-fabricated formula of radio song writing, and the songs lull you into them rather than relying on sugar coated hooks of any kind. With each listen, I became more accepting of the change in direction, it’s restrained but still very potent and wonderful listening late at night in front of the computer when sleep won’t come. If you give this one a chance it will slip into your dreams and stick.