Sunday, 26 January 2014

Album of the Week #10

Artist: Making Marks
Album: A Thousand Half-Truths
Year: 2014
Label: Fika Recordings

With temperatures in Oslo currently hitting -5, there’s not much summer cheer to be had in Scandinavia at the moment. But Norwegian four-piece Making Marks are looking to change all that. Their infectious, summery indie-pop has been making waves in their homeland, and after receiving rave reviews from critics for their early releases, debut album A Thousand Half-Truths comes eagerly awaited.

Opening track Bruises immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album, with its blissful, laid-back tone and jangly guitars. And it’s the guitars which impress and come to the fore throughout the record, whether it’s the wonderful, driving riff in Lemon Sheets or the Harrison-esque riffing in the title track. The guitar seems to be relieving some built-up tension when it’s really allowed to let loose in a few numbers, and is skilfully supplemented by an array of instruments: strings, trumpets and banjos to name but a few.

This brand of 60s, Byrds-esque guitar pop can often sound forced and unnatural if not in the right hands, but that’s never the impression that you get here. The songs, only one of which edges past the 4-minute mark, effortlessly flow throughout. It’s easy to be taken in by the woozy mix of male and female vocals, and even during some of the album’s meandering moments, it’s quickly rescued by being followed by one of the stronger points of the album, such as in the aforementioned Lemon Sheets or the cheery Forgive and Forget.

The consistently excellent male and female vocals are a real high-point of the record. The two voices never battle for territory in the ethereal soundscapes and only support the effortless feeling both in the composition and the sound of the album. Much like the Moby Grape album that featured on the blog recently, you’re never left wanting more, and you're never left thinking anything here is overblown or bloated.

A Thousand Half-Truths isn’t going to smack you in the face and demand instant attention. Instead, it might take some time to be drawn into the dreamy world of Making Marks. It’s more like a comforting arm around the shoulder: perfect for these cold winter nights.

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