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Manda and the Marbles - More Seduction (Cover Artwork)

Manda and the Marbles

Manda and the Marbles: More SeductionMore Seduction (2002)
Go Kart Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: JiveSideJiveSide
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Thanks to today's technology I have created the all-American rock and roll family. Down the street from my Sims alter-ego live my favorite neighbors, the Royals, headed by patriarch Joey Ramone and his wife Patti Smith. Henry Rollins is the oldest to his kid sisters Liz Phair and Manda Marble, who.
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Thanks to today's technology I have created the all-American rock and roll family. Down the street from my Sims alter-ego live my favorite neighbors, the Royals, headed by patriarch Joey Ramone and his wife Patti Smith. Henry Rollins is the oldest to his kid sisters Liz Phair and Manda Marble, who is the youngest and on the verge of her breakthrough to the same recognition her family has already achieved. Sure, this is a reality that only exists on my hardrive, but Manda Marble is definitely the product of my virtual familial influence. It's easy to hear Liz's voice and Joey's songwriting in the music on More Seduction, the deluxe edition of the sophomore effort by Manda and the Marbles, for it is every bit feminine, fun, energetic, and sometimes even a little serious, beginning with the song "Dangerous" and ending with "Seduction" this girl will break your heart while she's making you smile. In my Sims world Manda (vocals, bass guitar, keyboards) learned about Liz Phair's "Flower" while attending "Rock and Roll High School", but this girl rocks no less in the real world. Unfortunately I can't write the same praises for the Marbles, Joe A. Dama'ge on guitar and Mark Slak on drums, whose unreliable and uneven playing overshadow the smart pop-punk songwriting of their frontwoman, making this record a hard one to listen to at times.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, the music of Manda and the Marbles is the result of midwest middle-class life, free of the grit of East Coast punk but not quite as razor-sharp as West Coast power-pop. A place where trends and genres arrive a little after the fact and slightly watered down, this record invokes the spirit and sound and attitude of early pop punk such as the Ramones, Blondie, and even the Bangles and the Go-Go's. A role that Manda not only comes across as comfortable in but also credible, her voice light and youthful, and her songs never drop below a quick party tempo (or fall into a minor key), giving "New Wave" a voice for today's scene.

Good clean fun is the name of the game here, even the song "Dead by Dawn", despite the morbid title, is a workout in terms of good vibrations. As far as songwriting goes, there isn't a dud on this record, each song following a similar formula that works extremely well. It's hard not to get sucked into this record and rock out to Manda's athemic pop songs, but the playing on this record is a major buzzkill. Manda's voice is solid and the aesthetic quality of double-tracking her voice provides a nice presence over the music. Her bass playing is solid as well and her key playing is adequate as background filler. Her bandmates, however, fail to meet her skill and as a result taint her songs. Mark Slak struggles the entire record to stick with the beat, often falling behind and placing uneven hits everywhere on his kit. Joe A. Dama'ge fails to put any personality into his playing and his right hand isn't strong enough to put the down picks where they need to be. With music this fun, all personnel needs to be proficient and personable in their playing, and it's not enough have one-third of a trio doing her job correctly.

Perhaps the problem comes from the way in which this record was recorded, and not solely the fault of the band's skill. If all the instruments were recorded at separate times (without the musicians playing together) then I can see where the instruments fail to lock in, but if this album was recorded in the traditional method, I think Manda should trade in her Marbles. Then and only then will Manda make the breakthrough she deserves, and do my virtual family proud.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
JiveSide (December 6, 2002)

Yes, you are correct and I'd make the same comments about the White Stripes, and I'd also comment on the poor decision to be a two-piece without a bass player. The Velvet Underground were horrible musicians and Lou Reed makes Bob Dylan look like Pavorati, which is something I would not overlook no matter how good the songwriting is. And to respond to your statement claiming I contradicted myself...well, I fail to see how I did. Manda is a talented songwriter which shines through on the record and why I gave it three stars. But she is the ONLY reason it got the score it did for Joe and Mark fail to perform the way in which professional musicians should. Sure, a band can do very well on limited musical talent, but why would anyone want to limit one's own music? Furthermore, not a single song is tight and together on this record which is why I criticized the Marbles, Joe A. Damage and Mark Slak. Manda's potential deserves and requires more then amateur status. I simply suggested that she surround herself with higher caliber musicians. That is all.

Anonymous (December 6, 2002)

i am uninvolved in this conversation you guys are having...but thought i'd add a side note...as far as talented musicians go...the white stripes are horrible musicians and look at how far they have gotten..now thats a drummer that can't keep a beat or play drums for that matter...bottom line...songwriting is more important than musical "talent" so to speak...and the marbles write good songs.. and in my opinion they are good musicians....oh and your new post seems to contradict your entire review...now you think Manda sucks too?

JiveSide (December 6, 2002)

Okay, the Sims family was just a way of providing objective insight into what Manda Marble is all about. She writes pop-punk tunes ala the Ramones and she sings like Liz Phair. But to have both in the family I needed influences for both children (one is the major influence and the other cannot be denied as an influence of some kind), Patti Smith for her more artsy child Liz, and Joey for the more light-fun-hearted pop punk. I threw in Henry as a 50/50 combo of the two. The fact that I had to spell this out for you also explains why you think they are a "tight trio". Manda is a very good songwriter, but the Marbles are anything but good musicians. Yes, Manda has a pretty face but so does Jennifer Lopez...what's your point?

Anonymous (December 5, 2002)

I'm glad you like this album; it's one of my favorites, but you are so wrong about problems with the drums and guitar. This trio is super tight. You are just putting down the guys because you want Manda; you've even got her encapsulated as your neighbor in some computer game. I know, it's human nature to be pissed when you see guys associated with a girl you like, and then try to put those guys down, but grow up. Sims..... come on dude, you obviously like fantasy and don't live in the real world. At least stop fantasizing that all males associated with Manda have faults and should get away from her.

Anonymous (December 2, 2002)

I love this album and have the old release "Seduction" and I've seen the band live many times...They are one of my favorite bands. I think the new songs have a better all around recording quality than the older ones...so that might be the problem your hearing...although I disagree that they sound bad at all!! This bands live show and songwriting skills keep getting better every time I see them. Mark Slak is one of the best drummers I have ever seen live...I couldn't disagree with your comments about him more. 8 of the songs on More Seduction were recorded like 2 years ago so the band has gotten better and probably will continue to... thorough review though.

Anonymous (December 2, 2002)

thats a great cover

Anonymous (December 2, 2002)

Ive seen these guys....alot. Joe A Damage is my friends brother.
I personally have never noticed anything wrong with the drums and guitar, and i own their first 2 albums.
I think it sounds great, though the albums dont quite catch the vibe they have when playing live in a hole like Bernies Distillery in Columbus.

Anonymous (December 1, 2002)

Funny how good reviews doesen't get any comments...

It's always bashing time around here!

Anyways, that was a great review.

Anonymous (November 29, 2002)

The Sims.....HA! That's great, Joey Ramone & Henry Rollins- fuckin awesome. Good review.

Anonymous (November 29, 2002)

Wow! That review kicked my ass. What a great, creative review-especially the rundown of your "family." I've never heard Manda and the Marbles before, but your review is thorough and gives the reader a great idea of their sound. Bravo!
-Janelle

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