Originally released in 2001 on CD by Secretly Canadian, this epic and eerily-addictive album is revered as a dark pop classic of the Midwest underground. Record in Red is an album that has become a touchstone for damaged pop acolytes wanting to ferret out of one another just how twisted their fellow music lover's tastes are. It is Marmoset's finest moment and is now being released on vinyl for the very first time (with free digital download). The music of Record in Red sounds like it comes from a short, golden moment when the Seventies bled into the Eighties and from that place where melody and tone collude to seduce a truth from the darkside of the Midwestern urban experience. It is a hazy and brutal reality that evokes the strangest of nostalgias. The vocals and melodies are delicate, restrained, strange and somehow dissociative.
The final effect is nothing short of a poignantly psychotropic Velvet Underground-esque journey on a seriously heavy dosage of painkillers. Bald, minimally-structured percussion and moody vocals blend by the masterful hand of songwriter Jorma Whittaker (whose songs & vision disproportionately dominate this second full-length by the Indianapolis trio), giving the impression of being underwater - literally or chemically. Witness Marmoset's slow, syrupy, crackling sound as it builds relentlessly toward a final and impossible intensity that is known simply as Record in Red.
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
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.