Marnie Stern - New York axe-heroine’s songs retain rush of pop joy (4 stars)

Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Mon 22 Nov

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Marnie Stern - New York axe-heroine’s songs retain rush of pop joy

‘The future is yours, so fill this part in.’ That refrain from Marnie Stern’s 2008 single ‘Transformer’ truly captures the life-affirming power of her music. She plays it tonight, mid-set, taking the audience on a thrill-ride of dizzying finger-tapped guitar runs, climactic drum rolls and giddy vocals. For all their febrile math-rock intricacy, the New York axe-heroine’s songs always retain that rush of pop joy. ‘Her Confidence’, its riff appropriated from T Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution’, positively swaggers, while the closer ‘This American Life’ sees Marnie cut loose on the axe while dreaming of pyramids and ancient Greece.

The melancholic ‘For Ash’, dedicated to a deceased ex-boyfriend, becomes a stirring eulogy. Good-natured banter is traded about Stern’s recent spat with Best Coast. Stern had criticised Bethany Consentino’s ditzy boy-loving lyrics, leading to Consentino’s boyfriend, Nathan ‘Wavves’ Williams, calling Stern an ‘old, desperate bitch’. Putting the petulant wee nyaff in his place, Stern has had tour T-shirts made up bearing the legend ‘ODB’. ‘I’ll swallow them up with my vagine!’ she proclaims in mock indignation. Game, set, and match to Ms Stern.

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