Marina Allen’s music is the stuff of legend: a voice that surfs many musical tangents, hovers and persists, that stings with honesty. She morphs from Karen Carpenter’s gentle reverence to Laura Nyro’s soulful grit, moving through the phases like some possessed Dada performance artist before throwing in a melody like Joni Mitchell at her jazziest or borrowing from the close harmonies of the lamented Roches when they flipped out with Robert Fripp.
“I’m a big Karen Carpenter fan, Carole King too, and a huge Joni Mitchell fan. Joni Mitchell was really one of the first singer/songwriters to be viewed as an artist rather than as a traditional craftsman. Her bohemian sense and sophistication really elevated things; she’s a big inspiration to me.”
Those influences cast the seeds that flowered as Marina’s music: She writes songs that carry notes from other realms, as she lingers at the lake strumming an acoustic guitar with her feet dangling in the water. These are kitchen table tales about love and fear, capturing the wild heart, sketching the breaking dawn, bringing real life to life.
“I’m first and foremost a singer; the melodies occur naturally. As to writing and arranging the songs, I’m not sure how these things come to me. I love exploring the theatrics of a situation.”
Her majestic debut album ‘Candlepower’, set for release 4th June on Fire Records, celebrates the magical flicker within, following it through its courses till it dims. Her voice is mercurial and wonderfully infectious, her songs poetry in motion, cross-etching the playful parts of experimental music with the plaintive cry of pure pop.
“To me I think it’s a cohesive mix. ‘Candlepower’ is like a mantra, a spiritual attitude and perspective; it feels like all of these songs in their own way are directed at one place while each song touches on a different genre. I wanted to be able to say what I needed to say and set myself up for the future so that I wouldn’t be tied in to any one thing.”
‘Candlepower’ is a juxtaposition of melodies, an achingly beautiful set of songs set against the clank of the mundane world, a beguiling commentary on the everyday, everywhere…
“To me putting ‘charm’ into music adds a kind of magical theatric, adds order to allow a deeper conversation, to let you in to a deeper mystery – that is something that is really inspiring to me. I suppose that is really the thesis of the album: How do we talk about magic and, recognizing the limitations of finding it in art, still use it to really talk about the deeper realms?”
And this is just the beginning.
“I’m already writing new music and I’m really excited about it. I have almost half an album and I’m even more dedicated to giving myself permission to go down any avenue, to talk about anything that I want, and really just allow myself to push farther into the more risky side of music.”