Marnée is 12 years old. Okay, that’s not completely relevant. A lot of fuss has been made over her age, but I’m mentioning her youth simply as a point of fact, not because you should listen to her debut album with the thought, “Well, this is pretty good for a 12-year-old. She’ll get better.”
She will get better, but, as anyone who has seen this singer-songwriter perform over the last few years can attest, even at 12 Marnée is already head and shoulders above many older, well established musicians in terms of skill and songwriting ability. With the release of When There’s Gravity everyone will be able hear for themselves.
Recorded at Tempel Studios, When There’s Gravity showcases the many different styles that have influenced Marnée so far. It opens nicely with “Laugh and Play,” featuring Lance Hoeppner and Rick Kinney from Moser Woods on keyboards and drums, respectively, and the incomparable Felix Moxter on viola. A lyrically insightful song about friendship and life in general, “Laugh and Play” is one of those tunes that will hang around in your head for days.
After a brief interlude by Hoeppner, Marnée shows off her singing talents in “While My Tears Turn To Ice,” “Summer Dress” and “Down in the Valley.” In the latter song, the first she ever wrote, Marnée delicately paints a clear picture of her past while simultaneously musing about the present and looking forward to the future – subjects to which just about anyone can relate.
The title track, “Solstice of the Sun” and “Gethsemane (Part I)” stand out as the album’s catchiest songs upon first listen and likely have the best chance of getting her further notice outside the Fort. These songs show Marnée’s uncanny ability to write a great hook and effortlessly blend that hook with profound lyrics. But wait – just when you think you’re getting a handle on the style of this album, the five-minute instrumental “Pixie Dusk in the Beehive” blows away any effort to pigeonhole this artist into one category.
With When There’s Gravity Marnée brings to mind a younger Jewel or Brandi Carlile as she crafts 10 distinctly different songs into an album of pure listening pleasure. This album leaves little doubt that Marnée is talented beyond her years. From the haunting melody of “Solstice of the Sun” to the intensity of “Pixie Dust” and the innocence of “Down in the Valley,” Marnée demonstrates that there are no limits to her imagination or her talent. Be sure to pick up a copy of this CD soon. It’s likely to become a collector’s item one day. (Chris Hupe)
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