Recorded in a cabin outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the new album by Mar is much more upbeat than their debut and features Bright Eyes’ violinist Anton Patzner and celleist Zoe Keating of Imogen Heap (and, earlier, Rasputina). In contrast, their debut was recorded in Iceland and featured Jimmy Lavalle of The Album Leaf and Black Heart Processional and also Samuli Kosminen of MuM.
I’ve always heard that Iceland has one of the highest rates of depression among residents and maybe the results of this new album by Mar proves that recording in the States instead has made it a lot less somber than their previous release. Either way, the string arrangements on this album are beautiful, no matter how it happened. In fact, the haunting fragility of these songs adds to their beauty and Mar is able to carry off the songs’ delicate power like pros, although the vocals don’t impress me as much as I would have hoped. Nonetheless, you will be hearing a lot about this band. Be prepared to fall under their spell.
3.0 on the Scott-O-Meter