After the release of their debut album Act One
in 2016, synth-pop duo Marian Hill
went off the radar for the better part of two years, besides a few shows, with nary a word as to what they were up to. However, they've reemerged today with the release of their first single in a hot minute, titled "Subtle Thing".
"Subtle Thing" comes hot on the heels of the release of the soundtrack for Fifty Shades Freed
, which vocalist Samantha Gongol contributed to with tracks such as "Ta Meilleure Ennemie" and "Pearls". Unsurprisingly, "Subtle Thing" shares a couple of common threads with the two soundtrack songs, though it's still decisively its own song thanks to Jeremy Lloyd's productions. Opening with a variety of literal bells and whistles and clicks for sound effect, "Subtle Thing" quickly switches tempo to a chill yet well-paced drum and bass track that carries throughout the song, yet is interspersed with the aforementioned bells, whistles and synth oddities that lend it its eclectic personality.
A comparison to Portishead is quickly apparent, and Gongol channels a bit of Beth Gibbons in verses that are as subtle as the song the suggests, yet loaded with understated power and provocativeness. "Subtle Thing" is low-key, yes, but it's also a sophisticated comeback piece for the duo, and hopefully a sign of more to come.
Also watch our Bands + Brews session with the group: