Review: Marina Siertis – The Much Needed Second Cold War

Marina Siertis are a band to be taken seriously. Very seriously indeed in fact, for their second album covers subjects such as the Iraq war, the recent hurricane disasters in the USA and the killing of their own Swedish foreign minister. Their political statements are nailed to a sparse backdrop of electronic minimalism, austere vocals and melancholic guitar. On paper this should prove difficult listening but ‘The Much Needed Second Cold War’ is as strong musically as it is lyrically powerful.

Marina Siertis CD Cover

The opening ‘Minister Is Dead’ asks questions such as “Did it kill society or did it just kill one person?” and why the stabbing of a five year-old girl on the same day barely registered a headline in their homeland. Set to a doomy drone, it’s a startling opening and the intensity doesn’t let up for the song which succeeds it, ‘Horror Tin Can’, a swipe at George Bush set to a harrowing Bauhaus-like backing. After this, the music seems to lighten up even if the words don’t. Were it not for its obvious tragic message, ‘Suicide 2’ could be a touching love song, with its subtle electronica and André Öberg’s emotive performance recalling the early, innocent years of Depeche Mode.

Towards the middle of the record, the trio reach their peak with the menacing, rhythmic title track and the moody ‘I Never Went To The English Beach House’ benefiting from robust key changes. Marina Siertis fare less well when they offer dated gothic electronica for ‘Cold Anger’ and the self-pitying ‘Suicide’. Thankfully the group usually avoid such clichés and form their own individual sound; even when they’re at their bleakest for the closing ‘I’ll Begin’ it’s done with a certain elegance. For sure, Marina Siertis should be admired for taking a stance on controversial incidents but what impresses most is their musical ability.

Web Sites:
Marina Siertis Official Site
Marina Siertis MySpace

Further Listening:
Depeche Mode, The Cure, Bauhaus

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