Released on February 13th 2012 on Amp Music Productions
Reviewed by Francesca Baker
A music obsessive, recovered from a deep alcoholic depression, who’s spent years recording in his basement, Mike Marlin has plenty to say. Man On The Ground, his second album, released not even a year after the first, is full of songs crafted in the vein of early The Verve, with a gentility that warms and pop hooks that charm. The marrying of ambition and structure with emotion and spontaneity has earned comparisons with The National, and the fact he has a beard seen him likened to Badly Drawn Boy. Humour permeates, an observational irony and acceptance of realities resulting in the sometimes sombre mood (Hymn To Disappointment, Steve McQueen) being demonstrated as maturity, rather than moaning. Far more than just the musings of a man with his axe, there’s a bit of Eleanor McEvoy virtuoso violin playing, the piano scales on Grand Central Station sound almost like electro riffs, and the vocals have a sound of Paul Banks (Interpol) meets Morrissey about them. Overall a solid album that will win you over by stealth and charm.
The video for the brilliant This Town shot in and around London in a series of jerky takes, and the uplifting singalong chorus of ‘it’s gonna be different this time…set the city alive’ is here for your viewing pleasure…