Marquis of Vaudeville

Marquis of Vaudeville's self-titled debut, which actually quietly dropped last year, is a shrewd fusing of twinkly pop, gaze-at-the-stars vocals and melancholy melody outlined with edgy, trenchant guitars.

On tracks like "An Ordinary Day," you get an almost theatrical opening, with mischievous, alley-cat piano plunkings as the curtain falls away to operatic vocals. The song builds dramatically, especially from a vocal angle, and certainly accomplishes its aim of tugging at its listeners' emotions. Equally notable is "Bliss Chemical," which rocks with just enough urgency to engage you while not crossing overboard to something hokey—and the lyrical story is told just confusingly enough to make for some great theater of the mind.

This is music to paint your own mental picture while listening to—a healthy dose of rock 'n' roll with a fair share of emotion, invention and imagination.

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Alan Ayo