Marnie Stern - The Chronicles Of Marnia

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For about two years now I've been saying I would die a happy man if Annie Clark did a full on rock album (check out her incredible version of Big Black's "Kerosene" for proof), that still applies of course, but for now I'm very pleased to have Marnie Stern in her stead, her latest LP The (excellently titled) Chronicles Of Marnia is possibly her most accomplished, polished and dare I say it commercial record yet. Though don't expect Marnie Stern to be featuring highly in the charts any time soon. I say commercialised when in truth I mean streamlined, for the uninitiated the quick fingered guitar-shredding which is the signature of the ten track, thirty three minute record could be assumed to be intense and shrill but The Chronicles Of Marnia, her forth album is in reality her most uncluttered (and best) yet.

"Year Of The Glad" kicks off with a simple statement of intent, to make your day better with balls of steel riffs and super-catchy rhythms, pummelling beats and snarling vocals, stripped back of previous layers her vocals are more prevalent than ever, they hit hard and take no prisoners, "Nothing Is Easy" similarly combines ferocious vocal bite with a raucous, upbeat melody and super-speed guitars.

Highlights aren't limited to the odd track here, the powerful and intricate "Noonan" storms along, "Immortals" sees Marnie's high-pitched yelps reach fever pitch whilst a "Proof of Life" almost provides a moment of serenity, The Chronicles Of Marnia isn't for the faint of heart but those ready to embrace the sheer scale of beasty riffs on display here will surely find this an exhilarating experience.

You can download the album via Bandcamp or order on CD/LP via Rough Trade (and plenty of other record stores). Marnie returns to the UK in early June with most importantly for me, a show on June 5th at The Garage.