Marbles, Expo

Marbles, Expo

It’s been eight years since the last Marbles release, but the actual lag between projects is closer to 13 years, since 1997’s Pyramid Landing was a delayed collection of songs that Robert Schneider had recorded half a decade earlier. To put that in perspective, consider that the seemingly interminable wait between Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly and Kamakiriad was a slightly zippier 11 years. The difference is that unlike that foot-dragger, Schneider was making music all the while, most notably as the head honcho of the Apples In Stereo. As a result, Expo doesn’t have the feel of a major statement, nor does it need to. Clocking it at under 26 minutes and characterized by an offhand (though not at all sloppy) charm, it’s a one-man-band effort that finds Schneider playing everything except drums, vibraphone and anything he’d have to stick in his mouth. He sounds a little like Reggie and the Full Effect on “Out Of Zone” and a lot like the Magnetic Fields everywhere else, with programmed backgrounds laying the framework for meatier instruments. That turns “Hello Sun” into low-tech computerized psychedelia, but most of the rest of Expo is simply one pop song after another, with a trio of instrumentals (like the lush and gently cinematic “Jewel Of India”) scattered throughout. It’s not bad, just a little insubstantial, but anything beyond that would be out of the scope of a project with such modest aspirations.

(spinART Records -- P.O. Box 1798, New York, NY. 10156-1798; http://www.spinartrecords.com/; NONE)
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Review by . Review posted Tuesday, February 21st, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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