13 Dec 2011

Marizane - Stage One - Obscure Classics ( Review )

Great Albums You May Have Missed

Marizane - Stage One ( 2003 )

From my Space Waltz post you already know that I'm mad for anything that sounds like David Bowie, and now that the Thin White Duke seems to have sneakily slipped into retirement, it's time to find something else to fill that Goblin King shaped gap in our lives.
Well look no further, this will do the trick nicely.
I originally stumbled across the track "The Devil's Address", back in the early file-sharing days. It was labelled as a Bowie track, and an outtake from Ziggy Stardust to boot. I'd never heard of it before, but having just found the similarly obscure ( and quite wonderful )"The Shadowman", downloaded it for a listen. For a while I was convinced it was actually Bowie - it sounded more like an Aladdin Sane outtake than a Ziggy track, but all the ingredients were otherwise right. The only real reason I had to doubt it's authenticity was that no one in their right mind would have left something this good on the cutting room floor.
After hours on the interweb, I eventually managed to trace it back to this E.P, which was almost impossible to find anything about, let alone a copy to buy.
After much in the way of anguished searching, a copy finally turned up in the post for me.
And man was it worth the effort.
Only five tracks long, but great, great stuff.
The first three tracks ( including "The Devil's Address" ) are all produced and arranged by Tony Visconti ( The Man Who Sold The World etc ). Which makes a lot of sense. The band do a pretty sterling job on their own on the last two tracks.
The tracks generally sound like the Aladdin Sane / Diamond Dogs era - when Bowie was straining at the leash to evolve beyond the confines of Glam Rock.
"Of The Alien Christ" gets the ball rolling with some eerie synthesized Theremin and bursts of Mick Ronsonesque lead breaks, before Todd Jaegar's unmistakable vocals kick in. The lyrics are straight out of the Ziggy / Starman songbook - all glam alien weirdness.
"The Devil's Address" follows and is an anthem which could have been used as an alternate theme for the Velvet Goldmine film.
"Preternatural Baby" references The Man Who Sold The World's "Supermen" and shows a bit of a Queen influence with it's massed backing vocals, before heading back to Bowie country with a quirky recorder solo.
"The Libertine" drops the Bowie template and features a wonderful multi tracked guitar flourish at the end ala Brian May.
"Sad Foolish Robot" is a whimsical finale that brings to mind Hunky Dory's "Kooks" with another playful double tracked guitar solo.
Lovely stuff.
With links to bands like Heart and the Wondermints it's unusual that Marizane have managed to remain as obscure as they have.
The good news is that the e.p is still in print - grab it while you can ( click on the cover to buy from Amazon.co.uk )- you won't regret it.


  1. That was a good read. The story of my discovery of Marizane is virtually identical, the only difference was that it was impossible to get any of their CD's shipped over here to Europe. In the end it was Debbie Shair herself who came to my rescue and sent me some wonderful CD's, for which I will be eternally grateful.

    She had read an article I wrote about Marizane called "The best band you've never heard of" , the band in question being, of course, Marizane. It's such a shame that they're so unknown, since I would love to see them live.

    I'd like to add that ANY Marizane record is worth buying, even though finding one is a gargantuan task.

  2. Thanks Alexander

    I'm glad to find another fan out there.
    I've not been able to find anything else of theirs to listen to yet. Does the album they brought out a few years ago have the same sort of Bowie feel to it? From what I've read it's a little different....