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Ech(((o)))es & Dust Album Review: Marriages’ Kitsune
When this album came through by a new band containing members of Red Sparowes (Greg Burns & Emma Ruth Rundle) I knew there was a fair chance I was going to like it, after all with that kind of pedigree it’s hard to imagine what they could have done for me not to like it, but ‘Kitsune’ by Marriages far exceeds mere ‘like’ and enters straight in at the higher end of ‘love’.
What Burns and Rundle have done is produce an album that is instantly recognizable to fans of Red Sparowes, the bass and guitar intro to opener ‘Ride In My Place’ is 100% pure Sparowes, but then take it somewhere other than the dark, heavy and bleak landscapes that are largely the domain inhabited by Red Sparowes and instead take it somewhere warmer, somewhere more emotive, somewhere a tad less apocalyptic; it crosses the kind of blissed out desert grooves of Sleepy Sun with the ethereal nonsuchplace of Sigur Ros but is also really unlike either, if that makes any kind of sense?
It’s hard to pick out standout moments because the album hangs together as one glorious whole, each track seamlessly seguing in to the next. It’s a soundtrack to an epic roadtrip through the badlands of imagination; however special mention needs to go to the power of ‘White Shape’, without doubt the most Sparowesy track here, perfectly presaging the transcendental climax of closer ‘Part The Dark Again’, both combining to make a hell of a way to finish the record. But really the whole album is a highlight; a golden, fuzzed out cloud of effulgent emotions.
If there’s one complaint it’s that the record isn’t long enough, the six tracks weigh in at a slightly lightweight twenty five minutes and revives the age old EP / Album debate, but frankly that’s a small niggle when the quality is this high and as they say in show business, it’s best to leave the crowd begging for more and ‘Kitsune’ certainly does that. More please, soon please.
Released June 25th on Sargent House (seriously, have they ever released a bad record? – Ed).
OHM MUSIC Album Review: Marriages “Kitsune”
First things first: this band is so much more than a side-project’s side-project. Marriages contains three-fifths of Los Angeles-based post-rock outfit Red Sparowes, which in itself is made up of current and former members of Isis, Halifax Pier, Angel Hair, Pleasure Forever and The Nocturnes. While the wait for a new album from Red Sparowes themselves threatens to become as long as their song titles tended to be in days gone by (something they largely dispensed with for 2010’s The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer), Marriages are helping to tide impatient fans over with a release that is just short of 26 minutes long but can definitely be classed as an album.
Kitsune is certainly cohesive; it plays from start to finish as one long song which could be said to be divided into six movements. In some ways, it is quite different to what has gone before, featuring prominent use of vocals, as well as slightly more conventional song structures. The vocals are mainly provided by Emma Ruth Rundle, whose voice perfectly complements the music that surrounds it; it never does anything more than it needs to, but has a strong presence throughout. It’s low in the mix, so is sometimes completely drowned out, but there are times when it is extremely effective, as on Ten Tiny Fingers, a song on which everything - muscular drumming, powerful bass, searing guitar and those wispy vocals - combines to show the true scope of the trio’s ambition.
The intensity of their sound doesn’t take too long to establish itself; within 30 seconds, as the opener Ride In My Place roars into life, claustrophobia sets in. This is music that is both expansive and terrifyingly intimate; music that has so much going on that one forgets it was made by just three people, but layered enough to suggest many more are involved. At times, it isn’t a world away from the bleak and beautiful hybrid of post-rock and post-metal that Red Sparowes have become known for (without Rundle’s vocals, Body Of Shade could easily pass for one of their songs), but then again, neither she, Greg Burns nor Greg Clifford formed this band so they could write songs just like their other stuff. The new material is often heavier than the fruit of their earlier incarnations, too: the crushing riff that White Shape is centred around has an instant impact, its arrival seemingly pushing Kitsune to breaking point, hanging around for a brief period before everything starts to fall away under an onslaught of noise.
Metal Hammer Album Review: Marriages’ Kitsune
The 405 Album Review: Marriages’ Kitsune
The debut release from Marriages sounds like the soundtrack to a tense, broody, action drama and I mean that in best possible way. You can imagine this is what would be playing as story builds towards an edgy climax, the hero racing towards what will be the final showdown between him and the big bad boss. When I listen to this I picture it as the score to the remake of the 1994 modern classic film, The Crow.
Kitsune is made up of six thickly textured tracks, consisting of heavy, swirling guitars, thrashing drums and ethereal vocals, all of which melt into each other to produce an arresting listening experience. Marriages – a splinter group of Red Sparowes, comprises Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals/guitar), Greg Burns (bass/synth) and David Clifford (drums) and draw obvious influence from their former band, following in their post-rock tradition.
The opener ‘Ride In My Place’, kicks off the record with a heavy guitar riff and thrashing drums that grips you from the first listen. The haunting vocals create a lucid, dreamy exploit that adds another layer to the song, all of which blends seamlessly into the beautiful following track, ‘Body of Shade’. This brings us to arguably the EPs best attribute, the songs bleed beautifully into each other to the point that is difficult to know where one ends and the other begins without listening for it. While at the same time each track is uniquely different, and able to stand on its own merits.
Stereo Subversion Album Review: Marriages’ Kitsune
Kitsune, the Japanese word for fox or fox spirit, is a fitting title for Marriages’ debut. Foxes are multitudinous creatures, tricksters, sly and carnivorous, but also protectors and companions. In many Japanese folk tales they regularly take on human form and in other Eastern folk tales, they are more often spirits.
The nether regions, the realms between solidity and spirituality, is where Kitsune reigns. Eager and majestic, album opener “Ride In My Place” slips in on a bed of menacing bass and effects-drenched guitar and continues it’s sin-soaked pulse as the band moves from the low-end of the frets to the higher ones. Seamlessly the tempo slows as the songs morph from the effects of “Ride” into the ephemeral “Body of Shade.” The vocals are sparse and buried and there’s a gothic and androgynous quality that singer Emma Ruth Rundle delivers—possibly from having the vocal lines double-tracked with manipulated voices. But on “Ten Tiny Fingers” Rundle shows her prowess, snaking her way effortlessly around a Pornograhy-era guitar line and some thundering floor-tom drumming from Dave Clifford.
“Pelt” runs like a dark river out from “Ten Tiny Fingers,” soaking up all the reverb and atmosphere for miles around and building to something explosive and head-pounding with “White Shape.” If “Pelt” is the build-up, the potential energy, then “White Shape” is all released energy turned into white heat. It’s a pounding moment of sheer ferocity; a tangled mess of fuzz bass, arena-sized sound, and enough aural momentum to hypnotize a snake charmer collide before the comedown of “Part the Dark Again.”
Given that Marriages is 3/5ths of the heavy, post-rock band Red Sparowes, it’s no surprise that the core rhythm section can maneuver their way through a tangle of psych-out noise. But most surprising is just how accessible Kitsune is as a whole – back to front it’s a gothic dream that treads the territory of early Cure mixed with the post-metal dynamics of Pelican. Not every track is memorable (“Ten Tiny Fingers” and “Ride In My Place” are really the only songs accessible out of context), but in succession the songs hit like an atom bomb: powerful, lingering and devastatingly beautiful. Not every band can craft songs as heavy and simultaneously delicate as these, but their weight is a gift. - by Scott Eisenberg
Rock A Rolla Magazine: Album Review Marriages’ “Kitsune”
Drowned In Sound Album Review: Marriages’ “Kitsune”
Marriages’ debut is a wonderfully thickly textured release. Comprising six tracks of heavy, swirling guitars and the occasional distant vocals of Emma Rundle, Kitsune evokes a sensation of departing-consciousness - the gentle noise before sleep or the static background sounds of transmission. Marriages accordingly turn the volume up or down on their compositions to phase the listener through states of alertness, from near silence to overwhelming power chords.
Formed as a splinter band from Red Sparrowes - themselves an impressive instrumental group - Marriages’ prime concern appears to be creating a sensation of slow movement. Kitsune opens with ‘Ride In My Place’, the band immediately throwing everything they have into the composition. A guitar riff peals with the same downward trajectory that Blonde Redhead always make so appealing. Quickly another layer of guitar is injected and synths fold over. Chord sequences occasionally prick upwards for a momentary euphoric about turn but predominantly the song floats on a low, wistful tone. The song then bleeds beautifully into the following track, ‘Body of Shade’.
As the song establishes itself, Rundle’s lyrics seem a reflection on decay, repeating “my body, gone forever”. Her voice is embellished with a slightly pitched doubling that has a haunting effect. The song exerts washes of sound in such a tempered way that it feels almost aggrieved to be progressing. The drums remain locked and unfaltering, the riffs either intricate or droned. ‘Body of Shade’ uses the same formula as Seam and the more majestic exponents of post-rock, who always expanded their motifs in subtle increments. The neck jut starts small and develops with soft, steady inevitability into the thrashes of a crescendo.
Soundbite Culture (UK) Review “Kitsune”
Have you heard what a Japanese fox sounds like?
Neither have I, but this new EP from prog trip outfit Marriages might just possess as many magical qualities as our eastern brethren associate with this fantastic little animal.
Pop Blerd: Spin Cycle Album Review an “A” for Marriages Kitsune
Listening to Marriages debut album Kitsune is an almost spiritual experience. I don’t mean that listening to the album is going to cause you to find God or anything like that but it will take you to another place with its ghostly musings. The songs here are beautifully epic and will haunt your soul. The credit there goes to singer/guitarist Emma Ruth Rundle whose voice and guitar textures are the soul of Marriages.
The songs released up until now don’t do Kitsune justice. It’s not that the songs aren’t good, because they’re beyond that, but within the realm of Kitsune and the flow they create with the rest of the album they’re perfection. “Ten Tiny Fingers” was incredible on its own but hearing the synth intro at the end of “Body of Shade” which goes directly into “Ten…” will give you goosebumps.
No Ripcord Album Review: Marriages “Kitsune”
I guess you could call this an EP: Six tracks, all of which sort of melt into the other, a slow and lush mode and quiet howl of guitar notes afloat and occupying every available nook of audible background. Marriages, a trio comprised of Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals/guitar), Greg Burns (bass/synth) and David Clifford (drums), approach their new release, Kitsune, with grace and tone, air and drama, its six songs a cohesive array of sounds that are both haunting and captivating. Its intro alone, the opening notes of the ghostly Ride In My Place, induces shivers.
It was three or four listens before I realized that Ride In My Place and the following song, Body Of Shade, weren’t two parts of the same track, their transition seamless, their pairing wonderfully sequenced. For this reason alone, the album’s continuity is as important as the music Marriages performs. Kitsune is to be considered for the duration of its six-song length as opposed to one or two songs at a time. To listen any other way would shortchange the work, the trio’s assembly of sharp percussion and atmospheric melody as logically configured and essential to the make-up as words are to a properly written or formed sentence.
Having said that, the rewarding Ride In My Place and tom-thumping epic, Ten Tiny Fingers, provide the album its standouts. The instrumental Pelt acts as precursor and anticipation builder to the guitar track, White Shape, Kitsune’s obligatory rock fist payoff opportunity before the album settles via its closing track, Part The Dark Again. Vocally somber, its riffs generating sorrowful, amplified repetition,Kitsune’s last dose of loud fades into a mass of impassioned reverb. It’s here you realize the album’s true flaw: It’s too fucking short. - Sean Caldwell