Monday, March 2, 2015

Secret Place by Marsheaux

Greek gals Marsheaux have just released a Depeche Mode cover album; they've essentially covered the entire A Broken Frame album song by song.  I've been a fan of theirs for a number of years, and I have most of their releases to date, including having just picked this one up.  I double checked my posts here, and it looks like the only time I've put Marsheaux on the board is when I added a completely different Depeche Mode cover (of "New Life" that time) so it was high time that I gave them some credit for their original work.  Marsheaux is very rooted in the 80s, and have in fact covered a lot of 80s material, including (obviously) Depeche Mode, When in Rome, Billy Idol, OMD, New Order, and actually quite a few more.  But they are really quite good on their own.  Their lyrics are often kind of strange; I chalk that up to them not being native English speakers.  But that doesn't really matter that much; what they do really well is evoke mood and tone with their songs, where the dream-like vocals become simply yet another instrument for them to work with.

I actually think Marsheaux has made some of the most romantic synthpop I've ever heard.  I don't mean that in a kind of bodice-ripper type sense, a la the romance genre of novels or the rom-com genre of movies.  But with an extremely airy, wistful, dream-like quality to much of their music, it reminds me, in mood at least, if nothing else, of the best of Book of Love's output (a point which I believe I mentioned last time.)

Marsheaux has been relatively productive; six original albums in 11 years is slightly better than one every other year, but they've also put out remixes, compilations, EPs, singles, and more.  I especially like that they sound different than the majority of my collection.  As much as I like De/Vision or Mesh, for instance, I have to admit that they're largely retreading (albeit very well) trails already blazed by Depeche Mode long before.  Depeche Mode casts such a long shadow over the genre that many bands, honestly, struggle to do anything that doesn't sound at least somewhat derivative.  Normally, I'm OK with that, since I'm a huge fan of classic line-up Depeche Mode (y'know, when the music that they made could still fairly be called synthpop instead of something else by a band that used to make electronic music back in the 80s and early 90s.)  I don't mind stuff that treads that same trail.  But because of that, I do really quite like the material that is more unique.  Marsheaux is cementing themselves as one of my favorites that does their own thing, seems to still be going strong, and has enough output to not be considered a flash in the pan.

I've got a lot of material that I could have picked for this particular entry, but I decided to go with probably my favorite song of their recentish (2013) Inhale release, "Secret Place."  This nicely encapsulates everything I've said about the band, I think, in one single track.

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