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Marching Church – Telling It Like It Is: Album Review

28 October, 2016 — by Jason Stockwell0

Copenhagen’s Marching Church began life as a solo project from Iceage frontman Elias Bender. Now a fully functioning band, their second (sort of) album Telling It Like It Is feels like a wave of ideas spilling out of a clearly talented mind; packed with energy, but often frantic and uncaged.

marching church telling it like it is album cover

‘Let It Come Down’ opens the album superbly, with an eerie finger-plucked guitar line and military snare accompanied by slow, deliberate vocals that set a menacing tone. This is followed by the foot-tapping pace of ‘Up For Days’, which is pure driving music – a subtle bass-groove coupled with haunting vocals. When the chorus powers through, you really empathise with the feelings of insomnia howled by the man behind the microphone. If you’re a fan of The Cure’s early work this will be the first to be put on your playlist.

Single ’Heart of Life’ is the standout of the album. Again, The Cure influence is heavy, think ‘Close to Me’ blended with Will Butler. ‘Heart of Life’ is deservedly the title track, it has a moreish energy that you’ll never tire of. Here the rambling stream of consciousness sounds more like Nick Cave track, and the dissonant piano chords during its upbeat verses ensure the sinister side prevails.

marching church
“I locked my keys in the boot again”

As we move through the album, ‘Lion’s Den’ is another key standout. The bass is wonderfully accompanied by an all-star cast of instrumentation to create a treasure that sounds fantastic on vinyl. ‘2016’ has an intro guitar tone that would make anyone melt, it’s this mid-album energy and attention to detail from Elias that is contagious, making you wish you were there to witness his creative process in the studio.

The finalé is ‘Calenture’, another change in pace, adding to the plethora of musical variety on show, what sounds like a drunk folk song is brilliantly slowed down and one that I can’t wait to witness live. This song is an emotional culmination of all the longing and uncertainty that has come before, and ends the album, fittingly, on a positive note. There’s no doubt that Elias is authentic, and Marching Church truly believe in the music they are producing.

Every song on Telling it Like it is has place, there’s no room for filler, and there’s enough variation on the album to suit your mood. My only criticism would be that it doesn’t flow in places and that sometimes Elias’s Robert Smith impersonation wears a bit thin. But putting this aside, this is a very strong sophomore effort, and one that becomes more enjoyable with every listen. 4/5

Check out more latest music releases in our new album reviews section, including Shirley Collins – Lodestar.

Marching Church - Telling it Like it is

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