Marine craft new mythologies on Fable Electric

Fable ElectricSerene and tempestuous, divine and thrashing, the qualities of Marine's debut Fable Electric are reflected as much in Cara Sebastian's swirling artwork as their hyperkinetic rock music. The lead singer and guitarist is destined to spend the next few years pressed up against the standardised canon of female art-pop icons - Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, maybe even a little Stevie Nicks - by varyingly well-intentioned music critics. The truth is that this band (Ruby Jacks sharing lead vocal and guitar duties, Beth Dariti on bass, Kaja Magsam on drums) are forging their own mythologies, splintered off from those modern siren songs to a past that extends well beyond 1977.

Fable Electric is very much a rock record with deft touches, not an indie record (whatever that could possibly mean today) with rock flourishes. Songs like "Sirens" and "Kraken" start off slow and sultry, the better to draw you onto those unforgiving cliffs when the waves of bass and cymbals crash. The earth itself is a constant source of wonder here, as powerful as any mythical beast; often the two are inseparable. "Creature made of stalagmite," they sing on "Mount Olympus", "you took the form of glass that night." No one supposes any delineation between the night and its materials, be it stalagmite or glass or carbon-based lifeforms.

This isn't pure fantasy, you see. The world of Marine is one in which magical realism is the default setting, each line between reality and the labyrinths of our dreams smudged under the thumb until it's nothing but blurred charcoal. Exaggerating the otherworldly qualities of female musicians is a dreary old move by the patriarchy to remove the agency of women, to imagine them as nymphs and pixies and not as boots, fists, lungs. In crafting such a richly rewarding debut, Marine have proved that they need answer to no one but themselves. "We are made of stronger stuff," they sing now, "and in our dreams we conquer you." And even that will not remain a dream for long.

Release: 30th March 2018, Rough Trade

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