Exactly how good an album Men whilst engulfed by its epic mass of tracks it is hard to actually decide but as a compelling and persistently suggestive slab of fun there are no doubts about the debut album from Welsh band Quiet Marauder. It is a mass of musical and lyrical devilry, a persuasion of anti-folk which parades mischievous anarchy, humorously sculpted incites, and simple daftness across its continually engaging presence. The album is also the band’s attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records for the longest debut album with 111 tracks. Made up of 4 CDs there are bound to be some ‘fillers’ in that intensive amounts of songs but even when the Bubblewrap Records released album does slip below the high standards set within its body, the tracks come with a charm and wit you can only embrace.
Quiet Marauder is driven by the Cardiff based songwriting core of Simon M. Read and Jonathan Day with inspirations coming from the likes of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Syd Barrett, Half Man Half Biscuit, Jeffrey Lewis, and The Fugs. Musically a collective of musicians with an array of sounds and equipment musical and kitchen, the band provides an encounter which is provocative and eccentric bordering crazed and fully evidenced by Men. Their previous self-released EP was a re-imagining of footballer Alan Shearer as a time traveller turned deity inhabiting humanity’s cultural memory after infiltrating all our collective history. Men also carries a concept, if less mad, through its imaginative lunacy, the four volumes of the album ‘charting the path of the male psyche through love, rejection, breakdown, madness, intoxication and, ultimately, resolution’. How much that comes over as you chuckle and roar at a great many of the songs and certainly contemplate most can be debated but as mentioned what is undeniable is the pleasure and frivolity which thrills the ears.
How to describe Men… well imagine Irish acoustic band The Radioactive Grandma meeting Flight Of The Concords in a creative maze with Television Personalities and The Goons, now you get the idea. Released in Wales at the tail of 2013 and in the UK this coming January 27th, it is impossible to cover the whole of the five hours offered so we will pick some of the best tracks on the release, or rather our definite favourites. From the brief vocally cast opening title track of Vol. 1, the CD offering a parade of songs looking at the male psyche in the pursuit of love, second song The Language of the Body featuring Little Arrow strums out its temptation with acoustic caresses aligned to a melodica seduction. The united array of vocals is excellent, raising a smile with their mischief whilst the lead vocal has a riveting tone like an inebriated Bryan Ferry. The song coaxes the imagination and emotions perfectly and is not equalled again, despite some thoroughly enjoyable engagements, until the almost baroque tones of Love Is a Two Racquet Sport croons contagiously in the ear. Both I’m Sorry I Removed Your Eyes featuring John Mouse and Annabelle spark the passions to greater hunger, the first an energetic dance of jazzy invention and the second a swoon of clumsy romance within a smouldering acoustic enticement. As with all the best songs on the album you cannot help joining in with the chorus, cries, or silliness vocally and emotionally. The quirkily anthemic It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Moon, the hypnotically persuasive The Game featuring Hail! The Planes, and So It Went Like This…. all contest best track honours not only on the first volume but whole album, the last of the trio especially incendiary to feet and an emerging devilish appetite.
The second volume dealing with a masculine reflective look at past failures which broaden to encompass greater issues is arguably not as strong as its predecessor or certainly does not offer up as many major highlights though again every track tickles and pleases in the right places. The Dancing Did reminding Daddy’s Watching Slugs, a minimalist rhythmic and vocal tempting with again seducing melodica, makes a wonderfully virulent teasing with an additional essence of Cardiacs too it whilst the brilliant I Want A Moustache, Dammit romps with and recruits the fullest passions for its irresistible and infectious melodic swagger. Both hit new pinnacles and maybe highlight the inadequacies of the less impressing ventures even if again it has to be confirmed that there are few if any tracks which leave you lacking any joy or satisfaction. Tesco Terrorism featuring Bensh is another prankish incitement of impish artistry which is immediately followed by the outstanding Impressive, a naggingly addictive stroll of vocal and melodic rascality. Though the second disc is not the strongest as suggested earlier it does provide some of the very best songs and example of the irreverently enthralling imagination and almost coltish ingenuity of the band. With mentions for the brilliant Young Knives like If We Were Playas with Houdini Dax guesting and Every Last Dinosaur with the addition of again John Mouse to its exceptional luring a must, we move to the third and fourth volumes.
CD three is the strongest of the four collections of songs. From the verging on psychotically mad second track Genes And A Good Name featuring Spencer McGarry the rib tickling evocations just keep coming with the likes of the Bertie Wooster like relish of I’m Beau Brummell And I’m Just Dandy and the Blade Runner tantalising of the cyber bred Do Androids Dream Of Electric Nonsense lighting new waves of hunger for the cunning lyrical and musical mastery at work. The sultry antics of the rampantly enticing Gin and Jazz lights more lofty flames of pleasure alongside the likes of the rapacious and shadowed antics lyrically unveiled by The Business Deal which includes Jimmy Watkins of Future Of The Left, a song with a St. Pierre Snake Invasion punk voice to it. More must mentions go to I Took Some Pills I Found On The Floor, Everyday Is A Good Day, and The Day The Animals Went Fuckin’ Crazy!, further gems amongst more than a few.
The concluding CD is again arguably less flirty with big highlights but a stretch with a strong wash of inventive and fuller bodied songs. It also offers one of the most irritatingly addictive songs on the album in the smouldering yet impossible addictive presence of Naughty Nights, a potent slow burn of vocal knavery and melodic coaxing which worms under the skin and psyche to repeat like gassy wind at any given moment. Its lofty perch is admittedly challenged by subsequent tracks like Clever Quote From Mark Twain with Andrew Paul Regan helping out, and the delicious Every Time We Think Of One Another featuring Francesca’s Word Salad, but most of all from the gypstep waltz of Hello The Robotic Singularity, doom and partying all in one flight of invention as well as the world’s final conversation, Humanity’s Final Hour. To be honest favourites shift with every listen, as even whilst writing Imaginary Music with its Gary Numan and Are Friends Electric? seeding makes its claim, reminding just how many and irrepressible and thrilling songs are on Men.
Featuring a flood of other guest artists in its midst, whether you can listen to the album in one swoop is debatable as at times repetitions of melodies and rhythmic sculpting is apparent to temper the effect of some, but you can certainly shape a vast array of different playlists to enjoy from its admittedly surprising excellence to only enjoy without restraint. At the start you cannot help expecting plenty of flab and flannel in an album of so many tracks but Quiet Marauder soon and constantly set those thoughts straight. A brilliant album…still not sure but an unreservedly enjoyable one there is no question and the easiest of recommendations to make.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from