I have to begin with yet another admission which makes me think that I should start calling my reviews 'true confessions'; but that's another story. In any case, I must confess to a certain bias when reviewing bands from Hamilton Ontario. I feel a swell of pride in my Hammertown guys and gals that may color my perception. I'm confident however that when it comes to The Marble Index, my hometown pride is well placed.
Their second release Watch Your Candles, Watch Your Knives is a slick recording showcasing a more mature band with the experience of a successful first launch and allot of touring under their belts.
The tracks on this CD are very danceable and alternative-radio friendly songs that still manage to retain a slight garage band feel. I guess you could say the Marble Index's sound has moved into a three car heated garage with a kick ass sound system, a lounge space and a mini bar fully stocked for an endless block party. It's guitar driven dance music minus the techno pop.
One of the best tunes in my humble opinion is "All That I Know". This is the second track on the CD, though it really should have been the first. It has a great hook that gets your head bopping to the beat from the first pluck of the guitar.
Track 5 "Let Me Be The One" is another tune that finds me hitting the replay button. This catchy song has the slightest hint of reggae and demonstrates vocalist Brad Germain's knack for delivering lyrics like "If I can't be yours tonight, let me be the one that could hold you for the rest of your life" in a style that sticks to my brain and gets me singing the harmonies in a fantasy duet. (Then again maybe I just always wanted to be a cool back up singer complete with tambourine and cow bell – "more cow bell!")
I've seen track 8 "I Don't Want To Try To Change Your Life" performed live at a local gig, so I know for a fact this song gets the crowd jumping on the dance floor and sets the girls screaming. The Marble Index, I can honestly tell you, put on a fabulous live show.
In this age when any tone deaf, teeny bopper nymphette with the right sound engineer can be a pop diva, the ability to sing and play your instuments well is becoming an endangered skill. These guys however, sound as good live as they do on their CD.
They're also great fun to watch. The Marble Index, comprising of guitarist and vocalist Brad Germain, Bassist Ryan Tweedle, and Drummer Adam Knickle look like they're having the time of their lives on stage; and lead man Germain really knows how to connect to the crowd and get a serious party vibe streaming through his audience.
The group has demonstrated a good deal of growth on this sophomore release, though I think there is still room for improvement in developing their music. This is really good but somewhat familiar guitar driven dance music. I can hear the potential for a unique distinct sound but I don't think they've quite reached it yet.
That said, if they are already this good then they can only go up from here. If they keep refining and honing their songwriting skills with each new album then I have no doubt that The Marble Index will still be around cranking out awesome tunes long after the latest flash in the pan party band has fizzled into oblivion.
Watch Your Candles, Watch Your Knives is released on Rock Ridge Music and tracks include:
1. Everyone Else
2. All That I Know
3. Couldn't Do Without
4. Same Schools
5. Let Me Be The One
6. We Always Complain
7. What We Need
8. I Don't Want To Try To Change Your Life
10. Not Impressed
11. Same Old Lie
12. Never Ends
You can find out more about The Marble Index by visiting their website.