Marshmallow Coast at SoundsXP

We first came across Marshmallow Coast in the early noughties when the Marshmallows toured with Of Montreal and Andy Gonzalez played in that band too. The line up currently is Andy G, Derek Almstead (also ex-Of Montreal), Emily Gowden, Sara Kirkpatrick and Carlton Owens. We’ve lost touch with the more recent output, including their temporary name change to M Coast, but they’re back and we thought we ought to hear what they sounded like now, now that they’ve reached album number 9.

You couldn’t pin them down on this evidence; ‘Hash Out Cash Out’ has a touch of chillwave cool, especially in the repeated breathy refrain “on those psychedelic nights, can we turn out the lights?” while ‘Vangelis Rides Again’ (much better than the original line “black Dennis rides again”) sounds like a synthed-up Steely Dan, a very strange form of easy listening, slightly jazzy but compellingly catchy. ‘Mystical Shit’ is the best track here, a Derek Almstead composition that has a touch of off-kilter Of Montreal strangeness but a melodic heart, with weird subject matter: “she’s into mystical shit/ she’s got her crystals and special stones”. However, the tropicalia twitterings of ‘Homeless Baby’ comes close to matching it, Emily Growden singing a sultry tale of New York’s bleak streets that channels and subverts the melody and meaning of the Mann/Weill composition ‘On Broadway’, and the record ends with the gorgeous, drifting ambient Harmonia pop of ‘Forever’. It’s a slowly unfolding record that probably needs late nights in lonely hotel rooms or travel around deserted 2am ring roads to work its magic completely. But magic it has.