Mike Marlin - Man on the Ground - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mike Marlin - Man on the Ground

by Dan Clay Rating:8 Release Date:2012-02-13

Coming so soon after his debut - Nearly Man - Marlin's second album Man on the Ground sees him tread a fine line between melancholia and pop that shows no lack of quality for coming around so soon. While the talented Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst puts an album out each year with varying levels of quality, Marlin seems to be negotiating these choppy waters well.

Owing a debt to its influences, Man on the Ground opens strongly, with the 80s pop of lead single '

'. "What I want to know is how you liked your blue-eyed boy, Mr Death/ Now that Steve McQueen has left", Marlin sings over a gentle piano-led ballad in possibly the album's strongest moment.

The album takes a more reflective turn mid-way with the acoustic 'Left Behind' and 'Hymn to Disappointment' which showcases elements of country and gospel wrapped up with some Mark Knopfler-type vocals. 'Better' builds to a nice quiet-epic finale while the delightfully chirpy '

' is a good way to bring us out of the softer stuff before album closer 'Grand Central Station' fuses a tinkling piano melody and stirring strings in a fitting homage to New York's wonderful icon.

Marlin's got his feet on the ground then, producing a fine set of well-crafted indie-pop tunes that will please anyone tired of the usual drab singer-songwriter fare.

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