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Matt Marque | Get There (Truckstop / Atavistic)
It's a pleasure to talk about this fine record, because it is one of those rare instances where seduction really is the key word. Upon first listen, I didn't quite get it, and was startled by the presentation, but it made me smile. I went back again, and began to warm to its charms. Third time lucky, it all fell into place, and I was in love. Get there I did, and it wasn't a case of me getting into it, but it getting into me. Simply put, Chicagoan Matt Marque has created a minor masterpiece of leftfield guitar pop that is as humorous as it is heartbreaking. In 33 minutes, the silliest voice in pop (excepting perhaps, Ian Astbury) plays with words like building Mousetrap, with a comparable feeling of satisfaction when it all fits together and works. Introspective and playful, Marque pings out brief pop-blast after tiny loony tune after barmy ballad. It's tatty but tight, and a joyous listen. But as I said, not immediate, because the voice takes a bit of chewing on. Like Will Oldham after a kick in the love spuds, Marque trills and wheezes some lovely lines of childlike observation: "Like a plastic bag up a tree / I am stuck to you and you to me" he squeaks in the delicious Piece of Candy, and how about the immortal "I can tell by your face / you're not attractive" from the stunning We Should Never Have Dated..? Cheeky stuff, but none more so than on the wordless Here Is What I Have Been Trying To Tell You, with tinny sampled beats and acoustic Grubbsisms thrilling immediately. But it fades out before two minutes ?? mischief at work. Piece of Candy follows, and Marque's job is done when I note that he manages to mention both condoms and midgets in a love song. Genius. I could go on, but there's no point. You will either give this three listens and fall as I have, or you'll detest it. A clue here is that if you don't understand the importance of Stephin Merritt, Stephen Jones or Steven Malkmus in contemporary pop, then you needn't read beyond this poi...

Tom Sheriff
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002