Review Summary: A jumping point for a group with the capacity to succeed; Marionettes fails to deliver much worth remembering.
Clair De Lune are a rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Marionettes
was their debut record. Since then they have released one other album and are currently on hiatus. Signed to Deep Elm, they bear some similarities to label-mates The Appleseed Cast. What sets them apart is their more aggressive song writing, as well as their omnipresent keyboards. Realize that there aren't just a few moments of atmospheric piano; rather, the piano lines are well defined moments, playing out noticeable melodies and harmonies compared with filling out chords.
Unfortunately, the songs lack substance that piano doesn't make up for. "Machinegun Lipstick" sounds like a poor Emery track and fails to really be a Deep Elm anthem worth remembering. "Blue Ribbon" starts off creative enough with it's 5/4 meter and glittery piano harmonies. Still, there is a basic lack of power in it.
Even "The Things They Carried", the second best track here dwindles in parts. The shouted choruses at the end manage to make up for it, but its weaknesses are still there. "Passenger View" is one of the finer tracks on Marionettes
with its pretty piano intro and explosive ending. Also "Ghost Of The Hill" is a good track with quirks reminiscent of Minus the Bear. Still, neither manage to really captivate the listener, falling into the same trap as the rest of the album. "Relapse" contains the one lasting moment of worth with its powerful climax. Beginning like a post-rock track it gradually crescendos to a rocking bridge that is an awesome moment.
This definitely isn't a straightforward indie-rock album but it may as well be one. Were it the sum of its parts I would expect to be reviewing an excellent album, but the songwriting is weak on too many tracks. The album dips into positive moments but too often feels boring and trite. It has little lasting power and lacks energy and passion. Neither are requirements for good music but without them Marionettes
feels entirely forgettable.