Thursday, 20 February 2014

QUIET MARAUDER - ALBUM REVIEW

Quiet Marauder - Men Volumes 1-4 (Bubblewrap Records) 
Quiet Marauder - Men Volumes 1-4

Right people. Everyone take a deep breath. Stretch out those calf muscles and make sure your hips are nice and loose. All good? Excellent. You're going to need all your energy for this one as Welsh anti-folk collective Quiet Marauder are coming straight at you with, get this, a four volume album that totals 111 songs and 5 hours in length. Think you can handle this? Well pace yourselves, this is a marathon not a sprint.....or a Snickers.

Now, the thing is, I've only got a sample of the album to go on but at least we'll get a flavour of things eh? From Volume One, we first come across 'Man' which is, as far as I can tell, the theme tune to the Magic Roundabout that was rejected for being too mental and swirly. And that sets the tone for the album as, despite describing themselves as anti-folk, Quiet Marauder are more in the vein of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band writing child-like songs with adult themes. 'The Internal Monologue Date (featuring John Mouse)', for example, is a melodically simple tune but the thought process behind the lyrics is particularly adult if not grotesque. 'Accidental Voyeur' follows in the same theme while 'Pretty Girls Are (Pretty) (featuring My Name Is Ian)' may not be particularly politically correct but it's great fun in the way that Flight of the Conchords is great fun. Our snapshot of Volume 1 finishes up with 'It Wasn't Me It Was The Moon', seemingly an ode to the love life problems of the Werewolf.

Volume 2 features the spoken word story of 'Goodbye Martin' which is as funny as it is tragic followed by the nightmarish nursery rhyme that is 'Prime Ministers (1952-Present)' which finishes up with somebody ghoulishly speaking the words "David Cameron" while a musical box plays in the distance. Shudder. The gorgeously acoustic strum of 'I Want A Moustache, Dammit' name checks Burt Reynolds and should be featured on a Radio 4 comedy show at the very least. 'If We Were Playas (featuring Houdini Dax)' is the most middle class ode to the gangsta lifestyle you've ever heard and 'Eggs!' displays an unhealthy obsession with eggs, need I say more?

The Volume 3 taster session begins with the very British a capella fun of 'Let The Crisis Commence!' followed by the anti-bull fighting anthem of 'Sad Spanish Eyes, Rodrigo'. I'm sure 'Wake Up Bono' makes sense in somebody's head but to me it's unhinged musical madness and all the better for it. There's a dirty, 1950s feel to 'The Business Deal (featuring Jimmy Watkins)' while 'The Day The Animals Went Fuckin Crazy' is Cliff Richards' 'Summer Holiday' for the Ketamin generation.

Finally, on to Volume 4 and we have the delightful chug of 'A Gay Guy And A Dog' followed by the 1960s chic cool of 'A Certain Girl'. 'Caged (featuring Jemma Roper)' is a bit of a musical departure from the rest of the collection with big beats and a drone that Massive Attack and Portishead would be proud of. The gently sombre acoustic delight of 'Every Time We Think Of One Another (featuring Francesca's World Salad)' puts me in mind of the wonderful Marmaduke Dando such is it's morose tone. The final track of this sample is 'Welcome Home Quiet Marauder' which has a certain subdued wild west charm about it.

I have to admit, this collection held my attention longer than I thought it would but I must remind you that this is merely just a sample - 20 tracks out of 111, 45 minutes out of 5 hours. Nevertheless, there aren't many other acts out there writing such witty and well observed ditties. I just wished they'd released one collection at a time as it's a little like being faced with a 4 course gourmet meal when all you wanted was a yoghurt. And maybe a Twix.

More information: http://www.quietmarauder.co.uk/

Live Dates:

3rd May - Troyfest @ Baskerville Hall, Hay-On-Wye

17th May - Anti-Folk Festival, London

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