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A Tall-Tale Storyline

A bell tone chimes. It builds to a hum and is subsequently joined by one, two and then three more slightly different and fluttering tones. A minute passes and issues the soft squeal of two guitars feeding back, which are joined in turn by the warm strum of an acoustic guitar. Sounds of birds chirping in an echoing aviary emerge and two full minutes into the sophomore full length from Philadelphia band Mazarin, we are finally treated to the soothing and wistful falsetto of front man Quentin Stoltzfus. A fitting introduction to the stunning drone pop of A Tall-Tale Storyline, and an intriguing continuation to Stoltzfus’ quest to create perfect pop music through distortion and harmony.

Listen after listen reveals astounding amounts of layered sounds, combining to evoke feelings akin to the lyrical content. The plink and twinkle of electronic butterflies fill the air before the dreamy spring laziness of "What Sees The Sky?" Droning organ chords groan beneath quick-paced guitars and insistent drums mimicking the mental instability of "Suicide Will Make You Happy" and repetitive, descending vocal harmonies bemoan the vanishing of "My Favorite Green Hill". Seemingly unintentional noises sneak out from behind brighter elements to whisper their secrets, like the revolving rumble of "To Keep Things Moving" and the sparkling wind-chime xylophone on "Flying Arms For Driving".

While the found and produced sounds work their magic, the stories themselves also fill the head with manifested emotions. Melancholy and the anticipation of returning home to California reverberate throughout the eight-minute opener, "Go Home". The title track oozes disappointment and the weariness of knowing the ending to "A Tall-Tale Storyline". The loneliness and lament of a relationship without communication, which are musically affected through a classic country and western sound featuring exquisite pedal steel guitar, also resonate in the drawl of the album’s closer, "Limits Of Language". With sadness as the prevailing sentiment, the two instrumental numbers, "2.22.1" and "RJF Variation 1", uniquely emphasize this by paying tribute to the late John Fahey.

There are songs and stories that one never grows tired of hearing, being taken somewhere vaguely familiar and incredibly comforting, always finding oneself wishing they would continue forever and never end. Mazarin has yielded a 40-minute document of that exact sensation, all the while playing with stupefying skill and unbelievable harmony. Acknowledging the best that music has to offer, and brazenly stepping forward from there, these 11 songs fill the surrounding space with enough gorgeous noise to ripple all the world’s oceans. This collection of mesmerizing psychedelic pop wonder is as close to perfect as any you’re likely to hear.

sean matthew carey

Track Listing:

  1. Go Home
  2. Suicide Will Make You Happy
  3. What Sees the Sky?
  4. 2.22.1
  5. A Tall-Tale Storyline
  6. To Keep Things Moving
  7. RJF Variation I
  8. My Favorite Green Hill
  9. Bend
  10. Flying Arms For Driving
  11. Limits Of Language

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