Owing a clear artistic debt to the smoky atmospheres and muscular rhythms of Portishead, Ode to the Marionette performs the kind of music you'd expect to hear in a club scene in a Gregg Araki movie. The outfit sounds a bit like the Cranes with a grounding in jazz lounge instead of direct inspiration from Isn't Anything or the Cocteau Twins. Singer Julia Brochey's upper-register vocals soar and dance over thick rhythms and provide a counterpoint to the low-end dynamism that is the hallmark of the band's sound. Marionette songs have a composed feel, but that adds to, rather than detracts from, the group's ability to stretch its own boundaries. With texture sharing equal sonic territory with melody and pacing, music from Ode to the Marionette (due at the Meadowlark on Friday, July 31) is soothing even as it gets under your skin.
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