Marla Mase album review Speak
Marla Mase steps away from her theatre setting to provide us with a new album – Speak.
A ten track album, Speak opens with – Lioness, a tribal vocal opens the track before we head off to the theme of the album – caging and compliance. The musicality heads to a new space for Marla, as she permits the lyric and music to paint the picture with no need for stage presence.
Scream continues the afro-beat housed in an urban construct, as broader instrumentation is given space to breathe over the confines of the encapsulating vocal. Themes and sentiments of confinement behind pillars of concrete restrict the underlying beats from spreading their wings.
Following in short order is Divine Restlessness, soul comes oozing out of the speakers as Marla heads to a new space. Her distinctive breathy vocal ties well to the composition, as the track loops like a caged animal.
She Hooked Him Up takes some great riffs on a tangential ride as the track whirls away, challenging the listener to find a space in which to rest the ears. The relentless progress hooks the audience in to an ever closing net as the story line lands the prey with ease.
Half-way through we hit Queen of Imperfection, takes a far more Rock based direction, which is a great space for Marla to expose her vocal. This is natural hunting ground which works extremely well. Great stuff.
Kill Love, well I think the sentiment is encapsulated in the title. A slower piece which enables the lyrics to say all that is essential, the added strings generate some wonderful depth.
As only a New Yorker can, New Cell Phone, has all that I like in Marla Mase, it is wrapped up in Brooklyn. At one time oppressed, while simultaneously feisty and unforgiving.
Ironically Dance the Tango takes us on a rock-a-billy ride out, really uplifting composition, with the ever present brooding lyrics which once again reflect on disappointment and unreflected truths. A superb composition.
Smithereens, finds another space in which the vocal sits with perfection. This is a subtle composition with the voracious appetite of a brown tree snake. Inconspicuous but laden with venom.
Once again I find myself at the end of a release wanting just a little more. Squirm harks back to the natural vocal range, with some deft guitar as the epitaph to a world which refuses to listen.
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