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MARCEL WAVE - 'Something Looming'

by Marcel Wave


Artist: Marcel Wave
Title: Something Looming

Label: Upset The Rhythm
Catalogue Number: UTR161
Formats: LP / DIGITAL
Running Time: 34 mins
Release Date: Friday 14 June

Track listing:
01. Bent Out of Shape
02. Barrow Boys
03. Something Looming
04. Peg
05. Mudlarks
06. Where There’s Muck There’s Brass
07. Discount Centre
08. Great British High Street
09. Elsie
10. Ides of March
11. Stop/Continue
12. Linoleum Floor

Packaging: Limited 180g black vinyl, printed lyric insert, download card.

Marcel Wave write eulogies for tragic actresses, ancient riverbeds and concrete obscenity. Their inaugural sonic instalment ‘Something Looming’ is part trades club symphony, part itchy serenade, and part wistful lament. As their heady concoction of ‘Meades meets Pat-E-Smith meets Kirklees Borough Council’ gets prepped to be formally baptised on a dank stage near you, Upset the Rhythm and Feel It Records have dutifully stepped in to deliver its songbook to the masses on both sides of the pond.

Formed when Lindsay Corstorphine and Christopher Murphy of Sauna Youth and brethren Oliver and Patrick Fisher of Cold Pumas were summoned by northern ink-slinger Maike Hale-Jones, Marcel Wave’s debut offering is a walk through a smoke-filled pub with yellowing wallpaper and all eyes on you. It’s a chronicle of the death of the docklands, the decline of industry, of the high street, of civic pride, of civilisations, of hopes and dreams. As Hale-Jones delivers the bad news in her low, West Yorkshire brogue, Corstorphine adds the bells and whistles via the frantic pulsations of a wheezing Hohner organ in tandem with Fisher O’s rasping guitar. MW are completed by the throbbing basslines of Murphy and Fisher P’s fervent rhythms.

The title itself sets the tone for the listener. There’s a sense of foreboding in Hale-Jones’ lyrics which sit at the quintet’s core—elegiac, sardonic and piquant in equal measure. A mixture of narrative epilogues and inward paeans, her words weave tales across a broad thematic church. Crooked tales of urban renewal and the voices left behind are probed in ‘Barrow Boys’ and ‘Stop/Continue’ and are at the fore in ‘Where There’s Muck There’s Brass’ with its refrain lamenting ‘Concrete and slate shine in the rain, cities destroyed, nothing to gain’. In these lyrics, tower blocks loom over terraced houses with the same shadows that the Hollywood sign casts over Peg Entwistle before she takes her tragic leap. ‘Peg’ and ‘Elsie’ are both meditations on two different actresses with different fates crushed by the cut-throat trappings of showbusiness: ‘The mad hopes break, fragile as glass. She traded it all, for the cutting room floor.’ A snaking, existential dread also runs through the album, stated more obliquely in the otherwise poppier interludes of the title track ‘Something Looming’ and album opener ‘Bent Out of Shape’, and present too on the comparatively ramshackle ‘Discount Centre’, where Hale-Jones reports ‘On a mini bus on the outskirts of Enfield, I’m losing all of my spark’. On the album closing weeper ‘Linoleum Floor’, it is laid barer still—a keyboard-led reflection on the deflating nights out of our early-twenties.

Marcel Wave invites the listener to dance to society’s decline, and then to later weep into its lukewarm pint.