Good lord! If ever proof was needed that, to put a wrinkle on the old saw, playin' makes perfect, Marbin's 3rd release, Last Chapter of Dreaming, sets in stone an evolution beyond what was rightly expected and delivered in their last CD (here), which was itself a dynamo. Putting in a mind-blowing 450 shows in two and a half years has sharpened the quartet up like a laser. My first thought, upon glancing at the song list on the reverse cover was "Hm, none of these are marathons, as one would expect in prog fundament, so what's the approach?" That was answered in the whirlwind first cut, Blue Fingers, a thick, dense, rockin' instrumental (all their stuff is instrumental—well, actually, there are vocals but they're all melisma or background chorus) showcasing Dani Rabin's unorthodox guitar style wherein, at one point, his legato is as smooth as Alan Holdsworth's (with whom Marbin has toured) and then as spiky as Frank Zappa's, and elsewhere, in a passage that tickled the hell out of me, sounds like Ralph Kramden bellyachin' to Alice and Norton about some damn thing.
The smokin' Inner Monologue follows, starting in a Discipline era gamelonistic intro before Danny Markovitch sets up his klezmeric/Arabic wont in smoothly flowing lines alternating between the terpsichorean and meteoric. But the Marbin klatsch has a balladic side as well, as in Down Goes the Day which nonetheless manages to inject a stomp passage for emphasis, the song a segue into the convoluted The Way to Riches, kinda like a Spyrogyra that's been listening to Al DiMeola and Kraan. Last Days of August intros in the direction Ronnie Montrose took with Town without Pity but more earthily, rather than urbanly, a deeper form of melancholy in a dirge wallowing in threnody.
Reflecting the always-on-the-move nature of the band, Last Chapter of Dreaming was recorded at no less than 10 different studios all over the U.S. and in Israel, but the mixing and mastering cohere everything as though it were executed yesterday at Quantum Studios. Besides the musicians and bands I've already analogued, you're going to hear some Curlew, X-Legged Sally, Either/Orchestra, and combos in those pastures. The closer, the title cut, is a pensée transforming into a majestic pomp and circumstance affair ringing down the curtain on the surprisingly wide variety of modes preceding it. These cats may be able to rave up with the best of 'em, but they're musicians above all else, and it's obvious the easy and facile road is not their pathway. In that, Marbin's among a vanguard intent on bringing back to progressive and fusion musics the renaissance that made the 60s and 70s the byword the era remains. It's been 40 long years through disco, punk, rap, and an onslaught of corporate schlock, so God knows it seemed as though all that would never, but, because of bands like this one, unless the friggin' Republicans of the world finally succeed in reducing everything to rubble, it's going to be a glorious coming decade for music. Whatever the elder days were supposed to unleash, the progeny are just now arriving.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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