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Marmoset | Record in Red (Secretly Canadian)
God bless Marmoset - the band named after a tiny species of monkey! With their half hour albums and their fragile, well-enunciated pop songs sung in faux accents an inch too close to the microphone. Or perhaps they do have this kind of accent now out in Indianapolis, Indiana. It's like a slightly palsied British voice; what Madonna sounded like before she actually married an Englishman and had to listen, really listen, to him. Marmoset's second full-length (clocking in at a miniscule half an hour, bless them, bless their little hearts) is called 'Record in Red', and it does have a tasteful red design along with a nice choice of font on the back. There are thirteen songs that never overstay their welcome. They snap about for long enough to sound absolutely brilliant and then disappear before they're asked to prove anything. Vocalist Jorma Whitaker, who according to the press release spent inordinate amounts of his youth hanging around the band Rush (his father was their tour bus driver), has a way of making his Indiana voice sound crisp and evil. "Ott-makah / Strangulatah," he sings over and over in the fifth song Art-Maker, sounding exactly like a Kubrick villain from the mid-sixties. If more pop singers could pull off this act we would have a whole pantheon of songs to listen to in the dark as we drove our mopeds down rainy streets, baseball bats swinging. I don't know much about Indiana, but the best band in that corn-filled, basketball state have produced an evil, little sleek bastard of an album. And it all ends - all the subtle, half-hearted grooves; all the clever keyboards and beautifully recorded high hat cymbal work (I'm serious); all the sharp guitar - in just over thirty minutes.
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002