wears the trousers magazine


music for your heart: turning marvel (2009)
September 17, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: album, mp3, review, video | Tags: , , , ,

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Music For Your Heart
Turning Marvel •••
Sunday Service

Music For Your Heart is a project based around the myriad talents of one Sandra Zettpunkt, a German artist who’s already a veteran of several bands. A multi-instrumentalist, she cut her teeth drumming in The Legendary Bang, lent a guiding hand to Camping, Die Fünf Freunde, Kajak and Parole Trixie, and has long curated a radio show with her brother Patrick on Radio FSK in Hamburg. Indeed, it has taken her some 20 years to find her feet in regards to a solo career. Turning Marvel is Zettpunkt’s first album, and practically solo in every sense. Released on her own label Sunday Service, Zettpunkt plays all the instruments (bar a few shades of double bass courtesy of Calexico’s Volker Sander) and impresses her own vision of downtempo pop firmly on every song.

Singing in both English and German, Zettpunkt quietly smoothes her own path, barely shifting in her stride as she ambles through these dozen tracks. Beginning with ‘Unwound’, Zettpunkt teases with a soft amalgamation of electric guitars, drums and backing vocals, all guided by her hushed lead that recalls acutely classic Julie Doiron. It might as well be titled ‘Unwind’, for this is (as with the rest of the album) is not something to be listened to as a Saturday night warm up, suited instead to the rainy Sunday afternoon that follows. Turning Marvel was shaped and recorded in Glasgow and Hamburg, both cities that encompass a certain greyness that may have contributed to the calm and poignant nature of the record, with Teenage Fanclub’s Raymond McGinley and later perfected by Shellac’s Bob Weston.

Standout track ‘Her Blue Dots Theory’ uses subtle but inventive chord changes, electric guitar and stretched vocals over simple but effective drums make an effortless little song, while the promising ‘The One’ picks up the tempo a little bit with loosely played but constant drumming and rhythmical electric guitar, but it’s still rather dominated by Zettpunkt’s slightly understated vocals. Other tracks are just as immediate musically, but unfortunately lack the subtle innovation that grabs the listener by surprise (‘Embrace The Change’, ‘Steve McQueen’), and the very fine line between downtempo and insipid is occasionally crossed.

Most of the time, though, Zettpunkt gets it right and blends the instruments cleverly to create a calming sound that engrosses, as with ‘Insight Into’. ‘When The Night Begins’ is another beautiful little track based around keyboards and vocals, and the perfect album send-off. But there are other times where the intention gets a little lost. ‘The Sky Seems Lower Than Before’, for example, seems to monotonously circle around similar chord structures without resolution, before fading out rather abruptly. But, overall, Music For Your Heart lives up to its name; these songs have the power to calm and to heal, and sometimes to refresh. A mini Marvel, then, and one that’s sweet and thought-through and subtle enough to creep beneath your skin without you even noticing.

Anja McCloskey
UK release date: 05/10/09; www.myspace.com/music4yourheart


FREE MP3: Music For Your Heart, ‘The One’


‘Unwound’

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