Marcus Blacke new self-titled album, out now via Three Sirens Music Group, is a lot
of things. The Australian’s latest 12 songs go from deep and emotional
to dripping with socio-political subtext to something more traditionally
categorized as Americana – but one thing it is not, is comfortable.
Regardless of what Blacke is singing about in his unique vocal style –
and, with equal weight, playing guitar (more on that later) – you are
there to feel it. And believe me, you will.
People spend their life avoiding feelings. I’m not
writing songs so people can dance. I want them to know it is okay to
feel something. We’re built to be melancholy sometimes. – Marcus Blacke
The album may be far from “easy” listening, but it is well worth the
emotional journey that Blacke takes you on. And speaking of that guitar
work, and all the music really, it provides the perfect backdrop;
bucking convention with twists and turns of its own – it is recorded as
raw and searching as the lyrics themselves.
The first contemporary connection my brain makes with Marcus Blacke
is one of my earliest musical hand-holds, Elliott Smith. Smith’s music
had such a profound effect on me during his life, more so in death as I
was growing up and trying to be an adult. Something to go back to,
something to fall back on when I needed it. I find Blacke’s songs here
provide the same musical template for my required emotional
It’s no surprise, to me anyway, that I gravitate towards Blacke’s
“Only Orchid” and “Holding Tokens”, while also having great regard for
“Russian Orchard” and “Master of Eden”. Blacke is nothing if not honest
and humble throughout not just these 4 songs, but for all of this
album’s material – 12 expertly crafted lyrical and musical compositions
that will stick with you long after it’s run-time is over.
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