A Tall-Tale Storyline
The second helping from Mazarin (aka Quentin Stoltzfus) opens with “Go Home,” a bliss-fest that drones along on one chord for over eight minutes with angelic falsetto vocals gliding along on top. This opener is atypical of Mazarin, who perfected the three minute guitar-based pop song on its first album, Watch It Happen, like no other band has done in the past several years. Its presence on the album serves somewhat as an overture, setting the mood for what is to come. The Philadelphia band is essentially the solo project of Stoltzfus, who gets some of his fellow Philly psych scenesters from Lenola and The Lilys to back him up. The songs on A Tall-Tale Storyline seem to stem from a bright, hopeful period in Stoltzfus’ life, especially when compared to the relative tone of despair found on his first record. If you want to break it down into simple terms, the first record was the break up record and now he’s on the rebound, but it’s more complicated than that. Watch It Happen was full of references to sleeping, depression and trying to get over a devastating break-up. On this record, Stoltzfus’ disposition seems to have improved greatly. Instead of sleeping the day away, now he’s “too busy breathing.” The song titles alone tell the story. “To Keep Things Moving,” “My Favorite Green Hill,” and “What Sees the Sky?” seem to at least suggest that his mind is off of his ex-girlfriend and onto more lofty subjects. He is getting on with his life and perhaps trying to encourage others in his former situation to do the same. Of course, there are still occasional moments of gloom and doom (see: “Suicide Will Make You Happy”) but Mazarin is accomplishing much more than the average heartbroken kid with a guitar (see: Bright Eyes). A Tall-Tale Storyline is a deeply intricate and multi-layered album that manages to find the good in things (the song actually says “You don’t have to pretend that suicide will make you happy”) and contains some of the most magnificent pop songs you’re likely to hear all year.
spinART Records, PO Box 1798, New York, NY 10156-1798; http://www.spinartrecords.com