Blurb: Bringing together the talents of two artists, both of whom prove to be experts in their respective fields, makes for an album that is classy, dramatic, and full of feeling.
Mari Chrome consists of Kai Otte and vocalist Marion Aseema Kuechenmeister (from the band Invisible Limits) and the music they produce is some of the most dramatic electronic music ever produced. The album is influenced by Fritz Lang’s classic film Metropolis, but the music itself is a far more expressive and varied affair that fully invites the listener to project his/her own personal fantasy on to the music; it helps that both artists are among the best in their respective fields as Otte’s richly textured melodies are more than matched by Kuechenmeister’s rich, emotive voice and the two together produce a spellbinding sound that is sure to touch your heart. The spiky opening of “Here I Am” suggests that this might be a slightly harsh affair, but once the thundering yet not overpowering rhythms kick in, to be joined by Marion’s rich vocals, then it becomes clear this is an expansive, dramatic affair that, while it kicks the album off in fine style, is somewhat overshadowed by the brilliance of the following “The Seeker” where the big sweeps of sound and seemingly mournful violin set the scene for a quite stunning piece that is full of romantic grandeur, like a dashing historical romance novel set to music. When the chorus gets into its stride, it’s enough to leave you breathless. As “Nie Wieder” later proves, it’s not a one-off trick as some fine piano work sets a similarly heart-swelling mood that the German lyrics do dilute a tad, but not enough to worry about, while some opera samples add to the already epic mood of “Without You.” As the album progresses, “Running Wild” shows a slightly more muscular and compact side to the band’s sound, although the chorus is well up to the standards they set time and time again; standards that mean even the happier sounding “Toxic” still manages to have plenty going for it in terms of their trademark passion. That their predilection for cover versions sounds like they’re taking the easy way out is testament to the excellence of their own material, although they do choose wisely in this regard with the dramatic potential of The Cure’s “A Forest” being enhanced a great deal by an irresistible combination of powerful, pacing rhythms and dark electronics, although the cover of “Blue Monday” does resemble the Gary Jules’ version of Mad World from a few years back, at least until some rhythmic coloring gives it some impetus towards the end. Similarly, the resemblance that “Welcome Home” bears to Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down” is something that would have been better avoided, although again, it is a fine track and there is one second where the sheer intimacy in Marion’s voice is so startling, it’s as if she is not so much singing as speaking to someone close to her heart. It’s a moment of true magic among many on this excellent album, which ends on a suitably epic note as “Come With Me” sees them playing very much to their strengths with another superb vocal performance and a combination of adventurous rhythms, ghostly wordless voices, and lovely piano that speak directly to your heart and it’s utterly fitting that Marion’s voice is the last sound that’s heard as the album ends. To label such dramatic, tempestuous, powerful, and utterly emotive music as synthpop is to do it a disservice in accurately evoking its myriad of qualities that easily overcome such a mundane classification, but the fact remains that this superb album heralds the arrival of a major talent.
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Mari Chrome Twitter http://twitter.com/MariChrome1
Alfa Matrix Website http://alfa-matrix.com
Alfa Matrix MySpace http://www.myspace.com/alfamatrix
Alfa Matrix Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Alfa.Matrix
Alfa Matrix Twitter http://twitter.com/alfamatrix
Amazon CD (Standard)
Amazon CD (Deluxe)
Carl Jenkinson (carlj)