added: 1 Mar 2014
// release date: 25 Feb 2014 // label:
reviewer: Daniel Davidson-Amadi
Backed by the soulful and funk-tastic Tomas Doncker Band, Marla Mase – an uber-talented producer, singer and songwriter who hails from The Big Apple – has completed her latest eclectic offering, Half Life. Already highly regarded as an intriguing and energetic performer with a poetic, spoken word style that exudes intelligent lyricism, this newest album sets about confirming all the superlatives with a distinctively experimental attitude that supplies several various stylistic influences.
Trying to pigeonhole Half Life is like trying to balance an egg on a bucking bronco. There are so many twist and turns – the only ever present is Mase's effortlessly deadpan vocalism. She's not the greatest vocalist, but she verbalises the most provocative notions that are teeming with important and unforgettable symbolism.
Musically, one minute you can be listening to the blues and then 2-3 minutes later you're nodding away to some really spunky punk rock that is tinged with elements of trip hop and bluegrass.
The thing with Half Life is that, even though the record is extremely provocative in material, it is still very much engaged in delivering something that is intrinsically entertaining. There isn't an emphasis on being too poignant and downbeat despite containing “confrontational” themes. Compositions are predominantly upbeat and sparky just like our illustrious front-woman.
Providing a unique blend of cleverness, sincerity and sexuality, Half Life twangs, snaps and zaps from start to finish, showing just how to utilise a world of instrumentality to create an album that can resonate internationally.
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