Record review: Marionettes – ‘Tea Parties’


Marionettes are from Aberdeen, they formed in 2007 and describe themselves as, “purveyors of frantic alterna-pop”, this is rather an accurate description and their new single, ‘Tea Parties’, serves as testament to this.

‘Tea Parties’ announces itself in a triumphant fashion, with loud crashes of drums and guitar and sets the stage for the rest of the record.

After the promising opening bars, the rhythm kicks into gear in a Smiths-like fashion and the energetic jangle has you bopping along gleefully. (I must add that this is something I rarely find myself doing when approaching a record from a critical angle!)

This is a well-written pop song, it’s rousing, catchy and it flows naturally from section to section.

It does overstay its welcome slightly at just over four minutes and there are some odd drifts of tempo, but who decided speeding up was a bad thing? In this instance, it conveys the eagerness of the band.

They appear to believe in what they are doing and it only adds to the charm.

Though it’s always a bonus when a band doesn’t skimp on the b-side, here ‘Wave Race’ would have been a better lead single!

Its speeding drums and atmospheric guitars brim with youthful energy and propel it headlong into a raucous chorus before the listener has time to settle in to the song – a hallmark of strong arrangement.

Throughout this pleasingly concise number (clocking in at 3:04– a definite positive that has you reaching for the repeat button) we are whipped through a well realised indie pop track featuring strong guitar work not dissimilar to The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman or one-time Smiths’ and Cribs’ guitarist, Johnny Marr.

There is no wobble when it comes to tempo unlike its predecessor and its range of dynamics is employed to maximum effect.

To summarise, what becomes apparent after the first cover to cover listen of this single is that Marionettes have mastered the art of a rousing intro and quite clearly are partial to the melancholy tinged yet uplifting melodic sensibility that we’ve been perfecting on these shores for the past 30 years.

It’d be easy to level the argument that Marionettes are just another middle of the road indie guitar band that British music has been saturated with for well over a decade now but I feel that’d be too harsh a criticism.

Yes, it isn’t unlike things we’ve heard in the past but it has a certain likeability and promise to it and I feel once Marionettes sharpen their ideas and trim some of the fat from their arrangements they’ll quickly ascend above their contemporaries.

But just as Marionettes ask the subject in ‘Tea Parties’, what do you know?

The record is available as a 7” and download from February 4and the band venture out on a UK tour from February 9.

Words: Chris McCrory


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