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Anyone spoken about in the same breath as PJ Harvey and Patti Smith piques my interest and I was not disappointed with this album, released in February of 2013. In SPEAK Deluxe (backed by the Tomas Doncker Band), Marla Mase has combined memorable spoken words and sung lyrics in songs with unusual subject matter and diverse musical influences. Based in New York City, this singer songwriter is bold, brave, witty and true, often looking in dark corners where others don’t dare to look.
Things are unusual here, including starting the album with a reprise. Scream (reprise) kicks off proceedings with dark, disturbing lyrics and a punk delivery. A longer version of the song appears as Track 14. This is followed by Piece of Peace, a kind of template for peace and a better way of life for humanity, again with a punk style. Open Up My Heart has a online casino gentler tempo, with spoken parts telling the story of a girl with a hole in her heart who is not allowed to play because it’s too dangerous for her; she wants to feel “love’s first kiss”.
The most unusual song on the album has to be Lioness. Spoken words and sung lyrics express the frustrations and pent up aggression of a lioness in captivity. New Cell Phone is an outpouring of life’s frustrations bursting through the mundane act of getting a new phone number. She Hooked Him Up is a funky departure with lyrics that are…well, plain dirty!
AnnaRexia is a surprising reggae number and a powerful indictment of society’s obsession with body image and its tragic connection to anorexia. Queen of Imperfection brings us back to something more punk-like. The Bonus Track on the album returns to AnnaRexia, with the Bill Laswell Dubmix. Of the album’s 16 tracks, the above are my highlights.
SPEAK Deluxe will put you through the emotional wringer and reward you with something honest and raw, whilst still presenting an accomplished production. A punk sensibility and an ear for melody is an intriguing combination.
Streaming link: http://marlamase.bandcamp.com/album/speak-deluxe
Secure Download w/CD (320 kbps) and photos:
“SPEAK” the show website: http://www.speaktheshow.com/
Piece of Peace : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-bcaxDy74o
Live performance of “That Wall”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O24micke5BU (Preview)
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