A thread to talk about Marion, the band (c or d?)

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Basically because one of their guitarists, Phil Cunningham, has ended up as the 'new guy' in New Order, though based on the album I don't see too much in the way of a radical difference or change of sound that he brought to them.

But as for Marion itself -- a band that I liked to think of as the Britpop equivalent of the Mission, not so much in sound and style as it was that they both push my buttons and are utterly excruciating at the same time. On the one hand, they were from Manchester, loved them Buzzcocks/Joy Division/Smiths peoples (to somewhat bizarre degrees, I should note -- allegedly they loved to hang around Curtis's grave when starting out, their first manager was Joe Moss, Johnny Marr produced the second and last album The Program) while Cunningham and fellow guitarist Tony Grantham, easily the stars of the band, could kick up a hell of a lot of noise and pretty well at that (the This World and Body debut, which I relistened to last night after ripping some mp3s for interested parties works for me almost surprising well, I had thought only a single or two like "Sleep" would stand up).

And then there was the singer/Brett Anderson impersonator, Jaime Harding.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I GO TO SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! LET'S ALL GO TOGETHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!"

He was not a tower of strength to MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. He was more effective the more quietly he sang, which he eventually got around to doing more often.

Anyway, some reference points:

A 1996 interview with both Harding and Cunningham.

A classic fan review, late nineties California, on-the-web style.

A page talking about "Krafty" and Cunningham in N.O. linking to various Harding solo songs. Don't say you weren't warned.

And finally, the AMG bio. An extremely disreputable effort, as are the album reviews.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 16:59 (fourteen years ago) link

I remember hearing only one song of their courtesy of some freebie disc that came with a copy of Q or Uncut or Select (remember that one?) back in the day, and I remember thinking: "hmmm....they're okay, but they're no Strangelove or they're not Menswe@r of some odd thing like that). I'd love to dig it up and hear it again, but I've absolutely no clue where it might be nor what it's title was.

I still think Cunnigham looks like a post-op lobotomy patient.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:05 (fourteen years ago) link

they're no Strangelove or they're not Menswe@r

Both of whom I like a lot of more. I really need to find that third Strangelove album one of these days.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:07 (fourteen years ago) link

A lot OF more? Maybe I'm the lobotomy patient.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:08 (fourteen years ago) link

I only have the Sleep single and I don't think I've listened to it since about 1997 or so! They were shit live when I saw them.

So are they really worth a listen now? I'm not convinced but maybe I unfairly overlooked them at the time. Too busy listening to the Wedding Present probably.

Colonel Poo (Colonel Poo), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Too busy listening to the Wedding Present probably.

As well you should be. Just got their new single....but am afraid to play it.


Back to Marion, one of them had facial hair, as I remember.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:15 (fourteen years ago) link

That would be Grantham, the other guitarist. But he kept it well trimmed.

So are they really worth a listen now?

Probably not unless you liked them a bit then. ;-) I am waiting to see if Dr. C has anything to say -- and it's probably not flattering!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:18 (fourteen years ago) link

jaime tried to restart a new line up of Marion a few years ago, as a Mcalmont/Butler style two piece. I heard a couple of songs which were very basic sounding (ie without the duelling guitars) Marion lite.

And of course, there was the infamous incident where he was arrested for stealing garden gnomes to, sadly, fund his habit.

He's now working on new music again, so I hear.

Tony Grantham was last seen in a band called Chalk which briefly got some hype around Manchester.

Wyndham Earl, Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Cunningham and fellow guitarist Tony Grantham, easily the stars of the band, could kick up a hell of a lot of noise and pretty well at that

They were loud as hell when I saw them live. "Let's All Go Together" was by far my favourite song on their debut, which was patchy at best.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:35 (fourteen years ago) link

And of course, there was the infamous incident where he was arrested for stealing garden gnomes to, sadly, fund his habit.

Oh man. Should I laugh or cry?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 17:46 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm listening to This World And Body now (thanks ned!) and weirdly enough it reminds me of Electronic! Especially that harmonica in "Sleep," it reminds me of Twisted Tenderness. Unfortunately, the harmonica is what renders Twisted Tenderness unlistenable for me. But otherwise it's nice enough so far. I don't find the vocals any more overwrought than say Duran Duran or the Killers.

teeny (teeny), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 19:00 (fourteen years ago) link

oh man, when i first heard The Killers i just laughed so hard because they sounded like such a lame facsimile of Marion... it was pathetic and hilarious.

Wyndham Earl, Tuesday, 8 February 2005 20:40 (fourteen years ago) link

Sparkle, Miyako Hideaway, Sleep, Let's All Go Together and Time, at the least, are still great tunes though.

Wyndham Earl, Tuesday, 8 February 2005 20:43 (fourteen years ago) link

"Let's All Go Together" *should* be great...but ARGH the verses. (The choruses less so.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 20:46 (fourteen years ago) link

I remember liking a couple of their songs but the singer always got in the way, his voice and lyrics grated like a microplane.

Leon the Fatboy (Ex Leon), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 20:55 (fourteen years ago) link

i would really like to hear this band.

bbc6 personality (bbc6 personality), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 21:03 (fourteen years ago) link

i heard about marion before i heard their music. the gulf between what i expected and what i got was vast and depressing.

puressence kicked their asses. (although to say puressence were patchy would be an insult to patches.)

i was going to start wanging on about how britpop dulled everything so much that bands like marion had to play to the lowest common denominator rather than reaching for the sky, but a) it's probably not entirely true and b) i'm way, way too tired and grumpy tonight.

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 23:11 (fourteen years ago) link

puressence kicked their asses. (although to say puressence were patchy would be an insult to patches.)

Heheh, very honest that. Puressence are certainly a little more restrained in ways but if we put together their singer with Marion's guitarists then THAT would have been a band -- not that Puressence's guitars weren't good, I should note. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 8 February 2005 23:21 (fourteen years ago) link

I was actually pretty smitten with Marion until This World and Body came out. One of the first songs I heard was on some freebie as Alex described. I thought all three songs on the "Sleep" CD single were mindblowing, and I recall one of them being wonderfully Joy Division-ish. But when the album came out, it was a letdown, kind of like the first Suede album had been for me, after a string of such great singles. It also seemed to me they had changed the sound a bit for the album, maybe a different producer or like they'd just polished the songs a little too much? I remember wanting it to sound a little rougher.

Due to my Johnny Marr fandom I checked out a bit of their second album, but it left no impression.

Ned is very much OTM about the singer overdoing it a bit. One did wish he would just calm down a little at times. I can see why people compare The Killers to Marion, but I find the Killers a lot easier to deal with overall. And I think the singer is better, too.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Wednesday, 9 February 2005 12:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Puressence is a band I should have gone back to and never did. Heard a track of theirs a few years ago and it sounded great. I'll have to rectify that someday.

Also I don't think Cunningham brought any radical change to New Order either, but I notice some guitar parts strewn here and there that are actually quite nice and don't sound like the kind of thing Barney would do.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Wednesday, 9 February 2005 12:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Well I just checked and the Sleep CD single was produced by Stephen Street and the first album by someone named Al Clay. Not that I'm suggesting it can all be blamed on production.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Wednesday, 9 February 2005 12:29 (fourteen years ago) link

>>oh man, when i first heard The Killers i just laughed so hard because they sounded like such a lame facsimile of Marion... it was pathetic and hilarious.

Completley OTM.

Both Marion records are excellent, especially the second.

shaun kinski (shaun kinski), Wednesday, 9 February 2005 14:29 (fourteen years ago) link

I love me some marion, so poop on all the haters.


www.torr.org/blog

Torr, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 16:01 (fourteen years ago) link

ok, favourite Marion tune and why.

Wyndham Earl, Wednesday, 16 February 2005 00:47 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh, probably "Sleep" in the end, album version. It's concise, Harding rides the chorus and breaks very well, guitars sound great, the rhythm section revs up to a smashing end and it's all over in under three minutes, I seem to recall.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 00:50 (fourteen years ago) link

maybe they are reforming.. (from the marion mailing list)


I got an email from Nick Gilbert in which he told me that Marion were
going to reform for a gig in Manchester, probably next month, as soon
as Phil is free from New Order.

..or maybe just a crappy hoax.

shaun kinski (shaun kinski), Tuesday, 22 February 2005 23:34 (fourteen years ago) link

i agree that 'sleep' is their best moment.

shine headlights on me (electricsound), Tuesday, 22 February 2005 23:44 (fourteen years ago) link

five years pass...

great band. even the bsides. and other than a few singles, far more of a 'rock' band than most of their jangly britpop contemporaries.

reallysmoothmusic (Jamie_ATP), Saturday, 2 October 2010 22:51 (eight years ago) link

eight years pass...

Classic.

These, 60ft. Dolls and Geneva are all painfully underrated.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Saturday, 4 May 2019 12:33 (three months ago) link

I love the first Marion and Geneva albums. I remember liking the seconds from them too at the time but haven't listened to them in years. Of the stuff I picked up in the mid-'90s in my search for anything that sounded remotely like Suede, I still listen to those, Strangelove, and Puressence. I permanently shelved Rialto, Ballroom, Jocasta, and probably a few others I can't think of now. I do have fond memories of the Longpigs album but haven't thought to put that one on in a while; not sure if I'd still like it. Don't think I've ever heard 60ft Dolls; at the time I mentally slotted them under generic garage rock based on the name and image but maybe I'll give them a shot.

early rejecter, Monday, 6 May 2019 12:10 (three months ago) link

Ooh, I don't think I've - consciously or unconsciously - listened to or heard anything by Strangelove and/or Puressence in years! The one and only time I saw Marion live they were incredible and Jaime was very energetic onstage. I never saw Geneva live, sadly. I never really gave Rialto that much of a chance, to be honest, as by the time 'Monday Morning 5:19' was out I was kinda beginning to feel a bit of fatigue with the post-Urban Hymns phase that indie seemed to be going through at the time.

60ft. Dolls were more of a late '70s punk/new wave thing, and therefore may not be your thing, but I still The Big 3 has actually held up really well, and their second LP (Joya Magica) deserved better.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 6 May 2019 12:41 (three months ago) link

Okay, so I listened to Strangelove's Time for the Rest of Your Life earlier and my god has it held up well. Some genuinely beautiful guitar playing throughout, a highly underrated alternative rock record.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:54 (three months ago) link

As far as Marion goes - Classic. I think 'Vanessa' is a storming track. Used to howl along to it on my way to band rehearsals, as a warm-up.
Still got the day job, mind.

Maltrsnapper, Tuesday, 14 May 2019 12:49 (three months ago) link

I was always a bit like that *wavey hand* but then i saw them do one of the best gigs i've *ever* seen at Sheffield Leadmill circa '94.

I hope me laddo is doing alright

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/jaime-harding-marion-jailed-arson-11742460

piscesx, Tuesday, 14 May 2019 16:46 (three months ago) link

On that Britpop Now! one-off TV thing that Damon Albarn presented, Marion's performance was only second to Pulp's. Blur's "LOL look we're playing 'Country House' wearing traditional posh country gear" schtick looks fucking ridiculous now, and Elastica, Supergrass and The Boo Radleys were okay, but nothing came close to those two.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 17:09 (three months ago) link


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