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Leigh Marble – “Pony” EP (Leigh Marble)

Leigh Marble - Pony EP
18 January 2014

I’m not sure what prompted Portland, OR folk-rocker Marble to release “Pony” as a single, 19 months after it appeared on his 2012 third LP Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows. But it was by far that album’s most upbeat, “single-worthy” tune, sticking out like a sore thumb amidst its dark, methodical companions. Thus, it makes sense to give it top billing here, lest anyone missed it before. And if it reinvigorates interest in Knives, all the better. It’s a fun, late Replacements-like, piano-plunked pub-rocker, recounting an after-hours, bar-closing rendezvous between two patrons with mismatched expectations (and including the immortal verse “I was drunk and you were single/You popped me open like a can of Pringles”).

However, Marble’s back to his molasses-paced ways on the next song. He takes a page out of Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon leader Mark Kozelek’s unusual-cover playbook with a tender, elegiac country-folk reading of John Mellencamp’s 1987 #8 “Cherry Bomb.” Like Kozelek, he refocuses the spotlight on the lyrics, recasting Mellencamp’s nostalgic original into a moving, meditative, lazy-summer lament. To round out the EP, Marble includes a darkwave remix of Knives’s spooky centerpiece “Nail” (a duet with local Portlander Rachel Taylor Brown), adding ominous, glacial synths and a plodding drum machine, and closes with a surf-flavored first rehearsal take of “Pony” that’s drenched in soothing pedal steel. Overall, this will tide us over nicely until his next full-length arrives!

You can check out the video for “Pony” here.

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