It's taken Marker Starling fifteen years to write his new album, and four to record it.
A fastidious songwriter, the Canadian artist pours over each line, lingers on each note. Complex yet emotionally gripping, new album 'Rosy Maze' is a work of sanguine baroque pop, of tender, meditative, modal sparkle.
Out this week, Marker Starling has announced plans for a special one off show. The songwriter will appear at London's Shacklewell Arms on April 15th (TICKET LINK), a no doubt special evening for everyone involved.
Ahead of this, Clash is able to premiere the video for 'Painful Spring'. A gorgeous, McCartney-esque slice of bubblegum pop delivered with no small degree of emotion, let's allow Marker Starling to introduce the track.
The song Painful Spring was written in the spring of 2008, when the winter seemed to linger on well into April. I was thinking, "people always say that spring is such a joyful time of year, but it's not so joyful when you look at it from Old Man Winter's point of view!" That was the inspiration for the beginning of the song, "when the spring wrenches open the winter..."
The first part of the song describes the regrets you might feel as the winter gives way to spring - another summer approaching, yet you can't take back the things you said or did before. After the middle part where the narrator seems to put things into perspective - "the sound of birdsong gives the lie to your fine phrases" - the second chorus is concerned with more traditional spring themes of rebirth and reawakening.
The ending returns to the theme of the winter melting away and the pain of letting go of the past. Production-wise, this was the first song to have a string section added, and it turned out to be one of the most epic-sounding ones. In addition to real strings, there is an ARP Solina String Ensemble string sound buried in the mix.
Also, this is one of the only songs on the album where the Wurlitzer has been almost totally replaced by a keyboard called the RMI Electrapiano. The flute-and-Wurlitzer interlude is intended as an homage to the great 60s and 70s Jazz arranger Claus Ogerman, who worked with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto.
Catch Marker Starling at the Shacklewell Arms on April 15th.