Marina Allen: Eight Pointed Star (Fire) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 17th, 2024  

Marina Allen

Eight Pointed Star

Fire

Jun 17, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Like a true poet, Marina Allen conjures strange realities, places that exist somewhere between her imagination and the tangible world. The Los Angeles artist may be something of a throwback to the Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter mold, but on her new album, Eight Pointed Star, she pushes toward fresh spaces, twisting the traditional form into something familiar but not quite recognizable.

Allen has found the perfect collaborator in producer Chris Cohen, whose graceful, inventive approach is woven throughout Eight Pointed Star. He grounds the record in a bed of warm electric guitar, brightly strummed acoustic and spacious piano, but it’s the small, deft surprises that give the material an artful tension; the exotic, cymbal-heavy drum arrangement on “Deep Fake,” or the earthy strings that appear out of nowhere in “Red Cloud.” These are key world-building touches, moments that rush into focus to shift the songs into strangely liminal territory.

It’s there that Allen feels most at home. In the press materials she talks of striving to balance her love of the abstract with the need to express what is most vital to her, an approach that at times edges the album into the surreal. Allen is able to move from the richly detailed folklore of her Nebraskan ancestors in “Red Cloud” to snippets of uncomplicated wisdom in “Swinging Doors.” In “Deep Fake” she shifts from a vision of life’s guiding force to a digitised metaphor of emancipation—“Like avatars in a waiting room/Getting trapped is how we get clear.”

But Allen isn’t afraid of a more direct approach. “Love Comes Back” is a joyous, minimalist rush, while “Swinging Doors” is a brightly uptempo pop song set against urgent drums and crisp acoustic guitar. It’s here that she reveals a philosophy that may be the secret to her allure, and to her growth as an artist: “I eat the meat, I eat the bones.” (www.marinagallen.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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