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
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
- Go Home
- Suicide Will Make You Happy
- What Sees the Sky?
- A Tall-Tale Storyline
- To Keep Things Moving
- RJF Variation I
- My Favorite Green Hill
- Flying Arms For Driving
- Limits Of Language
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