Monday, April 20, 2009

skaizerkite by montt mardié

Montt Mardié, as m.a.b helpfully pointed out, has a sound that would not be out of place at a skating rink. As many of my happy childhood memories were centered around the roller skating rink, I can't help but see this as a compliment. My favorite moment of each skate night was when the lights would dim, the disco ball would drop, and something not unlike Montt Mardié would play. Who wouldn't want to experience that feeling of child-like wonder and fulfillment again? (Puberty on the other hand, I can pass.) Mardié's third album (fourth if you care to count last year's well-compiled Introducing the Best Of), Skaizerkite is a very good place to start recapturing that old feeling.

Back are the swelling crescendos, horn- and string-section accents, and clever wordplay. Anthemic opening track "Welcome to Stalingrad" name-drops Douglas Coupland, and it's off to the races, from the glam-heavy "Girls on Film" kissing-cousin "Click Click," to the disco-ready duet "Unknown Pleasures," to the introspective voice and guitar "Elisabeth By the Piano." In practice, this should result in a genre train wreck. But Mardié carries it off with the style and grace of a seasoned performer: no matter what the style, no matter the amount of truth each song may or may not contain, he's going to make you feel it. I'm not ashamed to say I fall for it every time.

Also back is Mardié's romantic fatalism, never more heartbreaking and real than the aforementioned narrative-rich ode to vacation romance, "Elisabeth by the Piano." Couple that with Annie, the reoccurring girl-who-got-away, who on Skaizerkite is getting married to someone else in "A Wedding in June" even as Mardié's still proclaiming his love for her in closing track "I Love You Annie," and you've got the stuff broken hearts and melodramas alike are made of. Of course, emo teens and soap actors only wish they had such an impressive falsetto.

Of course, when it comes to love songs, there is one track that deserves a special mention and special WBH adoration. A song which, without a doubt, is the best geek break-up song committed to tape, the gut-wrenching "Dungeons and Dragons": a tragic tale chronicling the torrid love affair between a too cool girl and a boy who ...know[s] every word Woody Allen wrote. By the last refrain of goodbye ...may the force be with you, I found myself a bit wistful and more that a little disturbed that Mardié seems to have joined the legions of musicians reading my diary1. A bit of a reality check? Maybe. But darn it...I'll skate to that!

Once again: No US release date. Seriously Sweden, must you hold out on us? Thankfully you can buy it via Hybris. Click the link, support the artist -- it's the great circle of life.

1. Gotta get a better lock for the thing.

mp3: "Dancing Shoes" by Montt Mardié

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