California Wives :: "Marianne"

The surprise isn't how charming and singable California Wives' music can be, it's how easy they make it all sound. Like you and three acquaintances could go down to Guitar Center, learn a few chords, pick up some equipment and then sign a deal with Vagrant Records. On "Marianne", they update their stylistic direction from inheritors to the Stills' throne to something closer to Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - and here it doesn't help that the second word of the first verse is "heartbreak" and fourth, "teenage". The big chiming synthesizers in post-chorus back the band's trademark driving guitars (see: "Blood Red Youth" and "Tokyo") all around fatalist lyrics like, "They will find you out, even though you tried". The chorus, one of those refrains still rooted in proper nouns for when bands are young and still write about cities and girls, is charming and accessible, a final trip through those big guitars and huge booming synths, democratic enough to feel like anyone could have written them and elitist enough that no one did.

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