27-year-old Marcie is what’s known as a multi-hyphenate: singer-songwriter, dancer, guest vocalist on numerous dance tracks, and host of “Behind The Lyric” , a digital radio program in which she interviews prominent members of the dance music world about — what else — the meanings behind their lyrics.
While the songs on which the Boston resident appears have been released as singles and featured on compilations such as Ministry of Sound’s Gatecrasher series, she hasn’t yet released an album under her own name, preferring to collaborate with a wide range of DJs and producers. So for the purpose of this review, I’m going to write about the songs currently featured on her Myspace page, which were released between 2007 and 2009. Starting with D:Folt’s “I Come Running” , a straight-up club anthem that, although light on vocals, introduces the listener to Marcie’s distinctive high-pitched voice, whose slight variance from track to track recalls a rage of vocalists from The Cardigans’ Nina Persson to the Veronicas to Portishead’s Beth Gibbons to The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan.
For some reason I thought “Broken Wings” was going to be a cover of Mr Mister’s 1985 hit of the same name (well, it worked for other soft-rock classics –see the early-00s updates of “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” and Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” ). It’s not. Written by Marcie to describe the painful aftermath of a breakup, and produced by Danilo Ecole, it’s considerably more lyric-driven than “I Come Running” , bringing to mind late-90s club diva Tina Cousins, and again showcases her breathy vocals.
Which is all very well, but the dirty electro of Neon Stereo’s “F*** Me Baby” is where it really starts to get interesting; it’s a thumping mix of sleazy 70s brass, industrial drums and squelchy synths, Marcie’s little-girl voice spitting out the provocative lyrics like bubblegum. It’s the kind of dance music that can be appreciated people who don’t usually like dance music, and by far the best track of those featured.
On “Somehow” , produced by TyDi and Dennis Shepherd, Marcie returns to trance, in which her minimal vocals take a back seat to the music. “Forward Motion” , produced by Marcie’s frequent collaborator Yamin, sounds like a remix of a pre-meltdown Britney Spears song with its minor-key piano and echoed vocals. The second-best song of the selection, Damien S’ “Love Me & Leave Me” , could fit perfectly onto the soundtrack of “The Hills” or any other show that revolves around the relationship dramas of attractive young adults; its sugar-sweet vocals and haunting synth line would be the perfect backdrop to Audrina and Justin Bobby having an emotional argument inside a glamorous club. Which can only ever be a good thing.
Speaking of emotional, “Love From Nothing” , while produced by Neon Stereo, is a completely different beast to “F*** Me Baby” , with synths reminiscent of September’s 2008 club monster “Cry For You” and a chorus that finds Marcie ‘Trying to reclaim this world from suffering, but you keep saying that it’s all for nothing, and I don’t think that I can go on this way’. Unfortunately it’s let down by the lack of a memorable tune. To a degree this also hampers the next track, Yamin’s “No One” , which somewhat awkwardly fuses Marcie’s vocals with swirling nu-rave instrumentals. Her voice is certainly lovely, and it’s a fun song, but you can’t help wondering whether it wouldn’t be much better if its singer sounded like Bernard Sumner rather than a Veronica.
The final two tracks, “Red Forest” and “Relax” , are remixes by Eddie Sender and David Akermanis respectively, and feature some of the strongest vocals of the set (even if the lyrics to “Relax” are slightly drippy). All in all, Marcie’s impressive body of work is well worth checking out for trance enthusiasts; obviously, as with any artist in that genre, non-enthusiasts may be a little more difficult to sell, especially on some of the less melodic tracks, but “F*** Me Baby” and “Love Me & Leave Me” at least assure her an audience among trance, electro and pop fans alike.