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Best Albums Of 2014 # 18: Marla Mase's "Half Life"

Best Album Of 2014: # 18

Best Album Of 2014: # 18

If this was 1974 and not 2014, Marla Mase would be a semi-popular break out artist signed to Sire and opening for Talking Heads om a national tour to push album number three, the dynamic spoken world meets new wave feminist sexual holla girl Half-Life. Instead all we have is the Half-Life itself, but it is enough.

With Tomas Doncker adding the backbone guitar, Marla raps and sings songs of indetermination, starting with the drum roll into “Drown In Blue”, a full throttle out there rocker about manic depression and continuing with a jazz flicked “Half Life”, the too short (only 30 minutes) album has you half way home and it hasn’t started.

Better is still to come, “Things That Scare Me” dates from 2010, the first song on her first album, but this disco version is better, she speaks sings it and it keeps on moving from hinged like a swing to unhinged like a litany of what the world is up to, as Marla uses a voice between plead, prey and contempt. This is really spoken word and yet it isn’t, it isn’t Karen Finlay though it comes from a similar place, the instinct is more of a rocker and sure Patti Smith but Smith had Lenny Kaye has her foil and Doncker has a larger palate then Kaye. “Gaping Hole” is modern folk, “Hold Fast To Your Dreams” an American Standard ballad and throughout these shifts in styles it remains true to its distorted reality mirror.

Marla is a central presence beckoning you forward till you are in the middle of her world and yet you don’t know where you are. It could be 1974, it could be the day after tomorrow, but you are experience something, not half but a life entire.

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