Released: 2003, April 22
Label: Burnt Toast Vinyl
Continuing from yesterday’s theme of albums that take time… The Marionette And The Music Box was not the following up to The Faithful Anchor that I had hoped Unwed Sailor would turn in. This was a decidedly more aimless and spaced out affair. Gone were the more engaging compositions the band was known for and really any trace of “rock” structures. Instead there are 17 pieces that take up an albums’s worth of music and are the accompaniment to a narrative that is told in illustrations found in the album’s packaging. Initially I purchased this album in CD form… that is a beautiful hardbound book containing the illustrations which happened to include a CD of the music. Aside from preferring vinyl over CD, that’s probably how this record should be digested (as opposed to the vinyl packaging or the regular digipak version of the CD). Once I got over the fact that this was not as immediate as their last full length, I eventually came to love this record. There are moments here that are some of the band’s most transcendent and just stand on their own as gorgeous sections of sound (to name a few: “Cuckoo Clocks. The Call of the Windmill,” “The Floating Waltz” and “Jubilee”). Their are even moments that give a band like Codeine a run for their money in how heavy and pregnant with slow, crippling despair they are (“Asleep In The Forest” and “Lost And Alone”). I like Marionette… even more because it required the patience and right mood to truly enjoy it… to “get it,” if you will. I also like that the outer design of the record is very minimal - it lets the illustrations within really come to life and surprise the viewer who may be expecting a similarly simple inside. Although the LP version does not come in a hardbound book, the illustrations are included in a saddle-stitched insert.
(Posted a day late due to power/internet outage.)