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Madawaska Valley – Marla (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

000001396061The accessibility of modern studios has resulted in a more is more attitude amongst some musicians. Many feel the need to fill the space allotted to them with every trick in the book, layering sound upon sound, texture upon texture until the actual shape of what they are creating descends into a morass of claustrophobic density. Marla, thankfully, takes the opposite tack, opting for songs built mainly from voice and guitar with only occasional, tasteful musical textures being added to the proceedings. The result is a glorious and graceful delivery, one focused solely on the message and the emotion.

Still, it helps when you have a voice as distinctive and potent as hers and songs as seductive as these – Desolation through which flit the ghosts of Moorish Spain, the Parisian café score that is Marais, the eerie ocean sounds of Sirenita and the gentle balladry of In The Wind. Anyone who already has her pegged as just another alt-country girl with a guitar or new wave folkie needs to think again as the songs here prove that there is something altogether much more intricate, intelligent and wonderfully genre hopping going on, something that will soon see her picked up and championed by those that matter. Dark, soulful, elegant and tasteful, what more could you want from an album?

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