MARVA VON THEO --- AFTERGLOW ALBUM REVIEW
Maxx Silver asks, why isn't Marva Von Theo world famous already?
With an album like this, they really should be....
Female Vocalists. They really inhabit some of my favourite music. Everywhere from
Goldfrapp at the time of "Felt Mountain" to Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance and Ladytron
who continue to inspire from the time I found "Witching Hour"
This year, via Synth City with Rob Harvey I discovered the Greek/ Austrian duo Marva Von Theo,
Marva Voulgari & Theo Foinidis. They, arguably, combine elements of all these bands plus their
own unique identity. And I have to tell you I melted with the voice of Marva. I'm sure in ancient times,
men were turned to dust at the power of a siren. Marva doesn't want to do that to you, but that voice!
It commands you to listen. Glissandos, yelps, warm purrs, angelic choirs appear as well as the more precise,
controlled power. The range of sounds she produces is something other vocalists would so love to have.
I tried to yelp in a song once, it sounded like a kitten trying to meow. I know my place...
And that is not to say the music behind it isn't superb, as it is. Her musical partner, Theo Foinidis
puts together beautiful soundscapes and lyrics whichpour onto the listener like waves upon the shore.
He also eschews obvious choices. There are no synthy cliches here, the music is original and sometimes bold.
There is a feeling of accessible experimentation. Views on life that don;t appear in cuddly pop songs
The album opens with Love. Such a beautiful, melodic, spine chilling song , "Love" is the "Utopia" or
"Witching Hour" of this album.
It was the best song and most inspiring track I had heard in years. But I had also heard "Ruins" and its
denouement of multiple Marvas singing " The ruins of your wasted life" seems to chime rather too much
with me. I could never, ever get tired of these two songs.
"Forever" is a shorter pop song, though there are surprises there too, the lovely harmonies as Marva sings
"Embrace The Madness" has the style of an updated sixties torchsong ballad with its backwards string,
"Dreams never last for long" If you cannot be affected by the poignant mood and the thoughful lyrics then
you might have lost your heart, somewhere along the way.
"Older" is a synth ballad which talks about age producing the feeling of getting "sadder and sadder"
"Room of Doubt" has the feel of being scared of something, unsettling horror movie style feeling which
morphs into metallic drum and bass at the end. The vocal acrobatics are sure to stop you from doing
anything else. Its a "moment"...
The feel of this reminds me of Andreas Wollenweiders "Mantos Arrow and the Sphinx"
"Dissolve", the latest single is more planted on the dancefloor. A dancefloor initially near the Pyramids which
migrates to a melodic European electronic chorus. Many musicians could not pull off the changes of mood
of this duo, it makes for an album that constantly entertains with its shifting sands.
"Somewhere Safe" shows musical and vocal range, from purrs and gentle breath to distorted crys of agony.
"Bittersweet Sunday" is a little slow for my tastes but beautifully sung. I love the progression of "Forgotten"
with different synth textures sewn together like a patchwork quilt. This works well in giving the song its
beautiful identity with Marva going into angelic angel voice at the end.
Marva could easily try some Lisa Gerrard style echolalia, dress up as a Greek Goddess and thunder along the shore
with strings and unicorns. The world should be their oyster. Let us hope the world does wake up to them,.
With a nomination for the prestigious HEMI awards, we can but hope their incredible talent will be recognised.
A brilliant and recommended album. 9.5/10