March Of Dimes "From Those Who Were There" (Hope House Records, 2010)
Bet a dime, win a buck.
There's no avoiding it, the opening bars of 'Seasons Change' will remind you of Midlake's 'Roscoe' or 'Head Home', but as it develops it eerily becomes more like Midlake's new album 'The Courage of Others'. It is when Cat Firman's vocals appear and she takes the title phrase on a sinuous journey around Jonathan Moss' lead vocal that March Of Dimes complete their beautiful transmutation into a later day Fairport Convention. The wonderment is that such perfection can be so effortlessly achieved and whilst the influences are clearly there they do not distract from what is undoubtedly the best song released by an English band so far this year. And that such a seemingly bright and sonically pure song should carry such an indefinable air of brooding menace is uncanny.
Vinyl crackles and gently rolling piano may introduce it, but 'I Fell Asleep Singing Your Song' is breathed into life by murmured vocals over a chunky guitar phrase. From a half awake vocal explaining "I fell asleep singing your song / you know the one you taught me for when I couldn't sleep" it builds steadily to a repeated "peace will come" sung over an increasingly strident guitar solo. The single note sign off ushers in 'SC2', an aural collage evoking a wind swept cliff edge which segues perfectly into the after the funeral emotional turmoil of 'Ducks at the Dam', with lyrics as reflective as the still deep waters <i?("take a hand and say all those things you meant to say...before it's too late").
Closing off the EP is the carpe diem of 'Try Never Knowing', determinedly asserting that it's better to try and fail than never to know what would happen, and then the final soothing balm of 'Seasons Change (part 3)', that witnesses the transformation from despair to hope and accepts, positively, that it's possible to be as rooted to a spot as an oak tree and still produce "such beautiful fruit". One season has snow, one season has blossom, and as the whiteness of both billow past they are no more than the blankets of memory or dream.
Beautiful fruit indeed, and if this short sampling is March Of Dimes' acorn then what a forest there may be to come, if we're lucky.
Date review added: Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Reviewer: Jonathan Aird
Related web link: March Of Dimes MySpace