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Manda And The Marbles - Angels With Dirty Faces (Cover Artwork)

Manda And The Marbles

Manda And The Marbles: Angels With Dirty FacesAngels With Dirty Faces (2005)
Addison Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


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

Angels With Dirty Faces, the too-long in the works followup to 2002's More Seduction, is a shining batch of 80's-styled power pop built on a solid punk rock base. Manda's vocals have only grown stronger over the last few years, and her confident delivery demands attention. Angels... benefits from cr.
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Angels With Dirty Faces, the too-long in the works followup to 2002's More Seduction, is a shining batch of 80's-styled power pop built on a solid punk rock base. Manda's vocals have only grown stronger over the last few years, and her confident delivery demands attention. Angels... benefits from crisp, clean production values, but Manda's voice is wisely left free of any studio tampering. The result is a sunny pop record that never feels like it's been over-tweaked.

Manda's songwriting feels quite accomplished here, so it's a bit of a shame that the record leads off with a cover. The band turns the Fast Cars' "Kids Just Wanna Dance" into a minute-and-a-half mantra that, while bluntly stating their mission statement, isn't really that interesting the second time through. The Marbles really hit their stride on nuggets like "Say Anything" and "Confidential." Manda's soaring vocals fit perfectly atop Joe Damage's buzzsaw guitarwork while new keyboardist Elias Dubok helps cement all the 80's new wave comparisons the Marbles are met with. The Ramones-y moments of their debut show up here more in the guitar tone than the tempo, as the band never really breaks some self-imposed speed limits. Still, despite a collection of relatively mid-tempo rockers, Angels... doesn't lag. Reinforcing their roots, the band even serves up a cover of the Avengers' "Cheap Tragedies." Of course, it's far less shambolic here than when Penelope Houston did it, but it's a nice show of respect to what came before. Angels... maintains a steady pace and consistent style up until the acoustic ballad "Seventeen." The string-accompanied summer love tune allows Manda to show a different dimension of her voice. After a track like this there should be no doubt that, if she pursued it, greater pop fortunes are on the horizon. However, perhaps it's for the best that the Marbles stay their current course, as songs like the closing "Let Them Talk" show the band is at its best with one foot in their punk/new wave roots.

I can't shake the feeling that there's no real standout among the record's 12 tracks. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it means there's a fairly consistent package here, but Angels... seems to lack the few really distinctive tunes needed to push it to greater heights. Manda also keeps things decidedly positive, and with the strength of the band behind her it feels like an opportunity was missed for a few more muscular, provocative songs. Regardless, as an enjoyable collection of light, new wave-inspired pop-rock songs you can't claim Angels With Dirty Faces misses its mark.

 

 
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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.
Anonymous (May 16, 2005)

The first time Fast Cars ever played this song live is on "Fast Cars live at Deeply Vale - 1979" CD now available from some good record shops and some crap ones also !!!

Anonymous (May 15, 2005)

To be picky the title should be "The kids just wanna dance" it's by Manchester UK band Fast Cars, and released as a single on Streets Ahead records in 1979. I should know as I wrote it !! Check out our website www.thefastcars.com and here the original version.

Anonymous (May 9, 2005)

you're both right and also both wrong

Anonymous (May 8, 2005)

Dumbass who posted below:

Kids just wanna dance is by the Fast Cars, not the fast. It is the chorus part of one of their songs. You are wrong, adam is right.

Anonymous (May 7, 2005)

Well, Adam, since you're such an "expert" being a columnist of this esteemed website, perhaps you should know that "Kids Just Wanna Dance" was by THE FAST, not "Fast Cars." Shit. Do some resaerch before you namedrop.

Anonymous (May 6, 2005)

This group continues to develop into a great band. Please keep up the good work and hit the road. COME TO BOSTON!

ElVaquero (May 5, 2005)

Didn't Living Legends have an album called Angels With Dirty Faces?

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

Sham 69 rule. The Sugababes rule but not as much...

Joe

exploitedyouth (May 3, 2005)

Scores for Sham69

~exploitedyouth~

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Sugabaes in that last post should be "Sugababes"

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

For the last time...

They didn't steal the name from a Tricky record. Yes tricky put out a record called Angels with Dirty Faces, so did the Sugabaes, and Sham 69.

Angels with Dirty faces was a 1938 movie starring Humphrey Bogart.

xmidipunkbastardx (May 3, 2005)

they stole the records' name from TRICKY but they are a very decent band. i like it.

LevitateMe (May 3, 2005)

the third best band with "marble" in their name

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Meh.

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