ALBUM REVIEW: Terra Alpha (MARVILLE)
ALBUM: Terra Alpha ARTIST: Marville
Get whipped into aural and ego annihilation with Brisbane/Meanjin-based duo Marville (aka Ash Kerley and Doug Palmer) and their chunky new album 'Terra Alpha' that dropped into the world today.
Marking the second album for the pair after 2013's 'Vayan Con Dios', 'Terra Alpha' is a natural follow-up; a pouting alt-rock showpiece that goes hard on spiky guitars, raw beats and Kerley's delightfully snarly vocals droning over the fuzz (at times hinting at Shirley Manson and Kim Gordon).
Built around the concept of the classic and oft-theatrical Queensland storms, 'Terra Alpha' hypnotically throbs between tension and peace, routinely exploring introspection and painting a visceral landscape of muggy ruminations and stark emotions. At times the album borders on the upbeat, clearly channeling the thunderous and inspirational storm (Steve, 9-Iron, Fickle) while others explore anticipation (Speak Easy) and, ultimately, release (Making Hay, Stones, Enamoured).
Having taken to the studio with producer Joe Hammond (Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher), the end result is a stripped-back, high-octane nostalgic adventure that audaciously proves Marville are an act that are firmly in charge of their drawling, sprawling tones. It comes as no surprise that the pair have enjoyed a fair few milestones already, most recently being crowned the winners of the 2017 Billy Thorpe Scolarship at the Queensland Music Awards, and it seems there's only more to look forward to for Marville in 2018.
From the calm before the storm to the purgative release, there's a startling level of personal exploration and undulating soundscapes throughout 'Terra Alpha - but the end result is an overwhelming sense of calm in place of anxious unease, and it's only a matter of time before this figurative sonic storm whips up more recognition for this intriguing duo.
'Terra Alpha' is out now, and you can also catch Marville live starting next month as they traipse across the East Coast. More info below.
BY TIANA SPETER