's output has always been a bit hit-or-miss for me. She's clearly an amazing guitarist and, in tandem with Zach Hill
's accomplished, double-time drumming, the technical proficiency on each of her previous albums has been undeniable when not downright mind-blowing. But then you have the "cheerleader vocals" as they're often described, the general cutesiness of her overlong album and song titles, the endless flexing of musical muscles &mdash some of that stuff was often a little much for me. On her new single, "For Ash", however, it sounds like Stern and Hill have finally crafted the perfect synthesis of their strong suits.
Which, again, is not to say that they haven't made good music before. "For Ash" is just a wonderfully crafted song -- the triumphant, slowly escalating first minute, the ease with which Hill and Stern play off of each other. As the opener for her new self-titled album, "For Ash" just explodes. -ben krusling
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MP3: "For Ash"
Marnie Stern on Myspace