Marla Mase’s first new song since 2016, follows her “Satellite Of Love” cover and her Truth Comes Down EP, with “830” as she heralds not summer but spring, in Fort Greene Park, without a care in the world in this dreamy, post-pandemic joy. It is being called “French Pop” by the True Groove family, and I get the opening hook is a reference but I can’t hear Sylvie Vartan at all myself, the more swinging “Comme Un Garcon” vibe isn’t here. The sound is sweet but not saccharine, it begs you to take it at face value whatever Marla may be saying: quiet yet not subdued, jazzy but a smooth jazz as if Burt Bacharach had impressed himself with Dave Brubeck, a spoken word middle is a thing of absolute joy that gets back to living again in the midst of a future still arriving, and Hank Hothouse’s solo is a purely melodic sax.
After the depth and the leap between Half Life and Miracles Lost And Found, Marla uses her artistry to rebuild New York and, perhaps, with a hint of romance in the air, in a black floppy hat and a yellow dress looks timeless and lovely and as though she has come through the pandemic stronger than ever.
This is all helped by her True Groove family, Tomas Doncker co-wrote the song, Kevin Jenkins arranged the orchestration, and Marla though alone (cuddling a dog is her only physical connection in six months she claims!), she is surrounded behind the scenes. It is as if her extended musical family are back to join with us in a new today (and in that sense it works as a corollary to Doncker’s mid-pandemic benediction “Wherever You Go” – Doncker promises a world that Marla lives in). You can hear in her calm and witty line readings a way out of the mist of sickness in the air, to a world more beautiful now that it is rare