Five years is a long time. Five years is an excruciatingly long time for a band like Marmoset, who reside in a city referred to-often derisively-as Naptown. Somehow this band has managed to bottle into one album all of the idiosyncrasies and pathos that have made them the critically-acclaimed band we all love. Merging the Swell Maps-inspired tumultuous clamor of their debut EP Hiddenforbidden, the addictive two-minute anthems on Today It's You, and the epic joyful dirges from Record in Red, Florist Fired has it all.
Although principal songwriter Jorma Whittaker possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of Beatles-esque melodies, Florist Fired leaves listeners with the unmistakable feeling that Marmoset owes much more to a Richards-led Stones swagger- without the budget or access to premium pharmaceuticals. In contrast to the seemingly lecherous, self-loathing Whittaker gems, guitarist Dave Jablonski offers up detached ethereal odes like a man with his head truly in the clouds.
The idea of being a traditional, functioning band has never quite caught on with Marmoset. Their live shows and behind-the-scenes breakdowns are spiritually aligned with the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre; but unlike BJM, the music you hear from Marmoset is pure sound vérité. No need for a ballyhoo project like Dig!- although the tales Marmoset could tell would certainly make for riveting viewing. Until the public is ready for such a trip into the madness, tension and ecstasy that is Marmoset, Florist Fired will serve quite nicely as their chariot on the road towards canonization .
So we're presented with another glorious entry in the ever-unfurling Marmoset saga. What began as a wondrous blend of bedroom atmospherics and alley-side narcolepsy has slowly brewed into one of the most exciting experiments in moody adult pop since Brian Eno divorced himself from Roxy Music, John Cale spent his melody on PARIS 1919, and Richard Davies united the globe in a lasting world-peace with TELEGRAPH. With this wonderful 8-song EP, Marmoset ought to keep its ever-increasing fandom both pleased and rabid-as-ever until its next full-length outing, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed RECORD IN RED. For the uninitiated, Marmoset is a three-piece from Indianapolis, Indiana, composed of two primary songwriters Jorma Whittaker & Dave Jablonski whose tunes evoke the same sort of claustrophobic mood that Syd Barrett and Big Star created in their respective world corners a few decades ago, but with a subtle post-punk consciousness which is the distinguisher that separates Marmoset from such idyllic peers as Belle & Sebastian and Badly Drawn Boy.
Release date: 02/12/02
Marmoset's RECORD IN RED is full of apples and cherries. With this, their second full-length, Marmoset have released a near masterwork of pop pleasure. Indeed, the 13 songs on RECORD IN RED vary widely in style and sound, ranging from the Church-like acoustic stylings of "Golden Cloak" and "Torn Cup, Fly Up Above", the FAITH-era Cure tone of "Walking Thru The Lake", the moody pop melodies resembling Richard Davies' work with the Moles, the haunting confessional of "December 4th", the epic dementia of "Summertime Is Easy", to the Kim Deal inspired "Frendamine". Every song is decidedly different than the one before, but the album hangs together with a neurotic thread so fine that it's completely invisible to the gallery. One can't help but wonder how much vocalist/songwriter/bassist Jorma Whittaker's childhood as son to "Whitey" Whittaker, Rush's official tour bus driver from 1976-94, had an effect on him and his skewed perspective of pop music. Of course there's almost no resemblance between Marmoset and the Canadian champions of stadium rock, but Jorma was the first teenager ever to hear Rush's "new wave" album SIGNALS, as Geddy played him the final mix on their tour bus when Jorma was just 12 years old. While the rest of the world's twelve year olds were listening to Air Supply and Olivia Newton-John in their parents' station wagon, Jorma was in the hotel pool on Neil Peart's shoulders making a scene or flipping through 8-tracks on the tour bus. Ok, so anybody already familiar with Marmoset knows to expect something fresh & interesting. Having been compared to Syd Barrett, David Bowie, the Chills and the Go-Betweens, on RECORD IN RED Marmoset assert themselves to be among the finest purveyors of mood music for folks who like to burrow themselves in their room with a cat, a record and whatever may be lurking in their medicine cabinet. Whittaker, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Dave Jablonski, drummer Jason Cavan & producer/guitarist Lonpaul Ellrich have created their most realized and satisfying album to date -- which they prefer to be heard "loud and alone."
At times disturbing and uncomfortable, Marmoset present their tales of street walking, dope seeking and titty clubs in precise and pop-formatted doses. On their debut EP HIDDENFORBIDDEN critics painted Marmoset, despite the under-two-minute-mark in which their songs traveled, as a brooding and slightly twisted group borrowing from early Sonic Youth. Still, Marmoset's delightful pop sensibility is undercut by a dark underbelly that keeps the songs hanging in a complex zone of romance and reality, sharing more a vibe stylistically similar to Felt, Syd Barrett and early Roxy Music, while mixing the over-the top pomp production of SOME GIRLS-era Rolling Stones with feet planted firmly in the ALIEN LANES living room. Undoubtedly, with TODAY IT'S YOU, Marmoset finds itself on the cusp of a very dirty sleeve.