Marine Girls – Lazy Ways and Beach Party: Album Review

The Marine Girls two albums are re-released in a single package, and represent indie classics, that remain timeless in their appeal.

Release date: 14th October 2022

Label: Cherry Red Records

Format: CD

The Marine Girls shone brightly for a very short time, from 1980 to 1983. In that time, they produced two fine albums, Beach Party released in 1981 and Lazy Ways released in 1983. The group is comprised of Alice Fox on vocals and percussion, Jane Fox on bass and Tracey Thorn on guitar and vocals, with also on Beach Party, Gina Hartman on vocals and percussion. They combined an impressive edgy indie pop ethic with excellent impactful songwriting.

This was a time when post-punk had added new layers of music exploration to the liberating movement of punk and new wave. The Marine Girls took that questioning, do it yourself, and experimental approach, and added into the mix a classic pop songwriting ability, to create these two engaging albums. Cherry Red Records have combined the two albums on one CD with the addition of a bonus b-side from their first single On My Mind, and an enhanced track that contains rare promotional video footage of the group. 

Beach Party begins with the track In Love, with a wonderfully expressive lead vocal by Tracey Thorn. The jangly guitar and perfectly synced backing vocals add a gorgeous pop sheen. The track that follows, Fridays, has a very cool bass line over which the storytelling vocals give voice to personal empowerment and authenticity.

Tutti Lo Sanno speaks to the Marine Girls musical range, with its bossa nova swing, syncopated percussion, and melodic vocal counterpoints. In fact, the very winning lo-fi production on the album is just perfect for accenting the vocal and instrumental inventiveness the group can bring to its music.

He Got the Girl similarly introduces another musical side with its indie-tinged rhythm and blues shuffle, with Tracey Thorn’s vocal soaring over the top. The track Promises is an absolute highlight on the album. The spindly melodic guitar line perfectly supports the poignant lyrics, and the way they describe retreat from connection.

As the group moved on to record their follow up album Lazy Ways, Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants, came in to take on production duties. A Place In The Sun, the opening track, evidences the fuller musical arrangements, while still retaining the Marine Girls’ sparse and subtle musical textures, and pop sensibility. Leave Me With The Boy has another great melodic bass line with jazz-styled guitar chords, setting the scene for Alice Fox and Tracey Thorn’s beautifully paced harmony vocals.

A Different Light, with its jazzy rhythms, and reflections on the nature of love, seems an early precursor of the musical magic that permeated the work of Everything But The Girl, the group Tracey Thorn formed with Ben Watt, following the Marine Girls.  

The Marine Girls’ interpretation of the classic rhythm and blues standard Fever feels definitive, with the sinuous bass and immersive percussive groove, providing a fabulous space for the gloriously hypnotic harmony vocal. The title track Lazy Ways sums up all that is great about the Marine Girls’ music. The inventive bass lines, melodic guitar figures, beautifully paced vocals, and evocative songs, all set within a sparse sympathetic production that gives full expression to the music.

The CD also contains an enhanced track with promotional video footage of the Marine Girls at the seaside, accompanied by the track A Place In The Sun. It is a quintessential representation of the group and its music. This is an excellent reissue and a great opportunity to hear the work of the Marine Girls, who for the short period they were together, made some very fine and timeless music.

An additional recommendation is to seek out the Tracey Thorn solo record, A Distant Shore, released in 1982, and thus from the same place in time.

You can view here the promotional video for A Place In The Sun:

There is a dedicated Marine Girls Facebook page:  Facebook

You can find out more about Cherry Red Records releases here: Website Facebook

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