This album comes out broadly as a songwriterly rock record. Unfortunately, it first came to me a few months ago the same week as Elvis Costello’s The Delivery Man. There’s no way this is in a league with Elvis, but what is?
Not being up with the best rock album in years does not mean that Marsland does not have his charms. There are some decent hooks, and some good turns of melodic phrase. If you’re into songwriterly rock, You Don’t Know Me is worth a listen.
Marsland’s general sensibilities reflect more the self-consciousness of someone like EC, but the sound of this generally reminds me just a bit of Elton John, particularly of the more rockin’ “Honky Cat” variety. This is partly just from being a keyboard oriented rocker, but there’s some pleasing echo of Eltonism here that isn’t in evidence in, say, Ben Folds. Marsland comes across just a bit more “serious” than Elton, but that’s forgiveable.
The best song title is “What the World Needs Now Is a Good Deus Ex Machina.” You have to love that. The song’s so-so, but pretty listenable, and has some nicely modulated rock screechin’ to it.
“What the Hell” is definitely the best song on the record. It has the strongest hooks and melodic development. It goes somewhere. It’s got a good rockin’ groove that gets worked in a couple of different directions. It would defintiely behoove you to at least hunt down this one song P2P.
This song also has the most Elton-y sound to it, which is definitely a good thing. The lyric about making out with some chick he met in a bar does not speak to anything deeply profound or life changing, but the whole structure and arrangement have kind of an epic quality that remind me very broadly of Elton’s underappreciated classic “Burn Down the Mission.”
I don’t know that I’d pay $15 for this new, but You Don’t Know Me is worth a listen.