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Mike Marlin – Play That Game

January 17, 2011 by  

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Mike Marlin – Play That Game

NAME: Mike Marlin
SINGLE: Play That Game
DATE: 17January2011



FIVE WORD REVIEW: Gloriously upbeat with baritone excellence.

LOCATION: London, England

LINE UP: Mike Marlin (vocals)

Mike Marlin - Play That Game.jpg

WHAT’S THE STORY?: Emerging from the post-punk era of British music, Mike Marlin decided to throw himself into writing and performing at an early age, but only really got the breakthrough he needed when he met producer James Durrant a couple of years ago. Durrant dedicated 18 months to Mike to create his “long-gestating” debut album, Nearly Man.

And so we get a taster of this upcoming release with Play That Game, which is selected to be the lead single. It seems that age certainly brings wisdom from this latecomer to the industry, because the song is excellent.

“Life is a game where you learn the rules at half-time,” Marlin says of the song. “Play That Game is a slice of orange before going out for the second half.” He’s not being pretentious, either; it’s all about him being pushed around, and this somewhat life-affirming ditty demonstrates his adamant feelings about standing up for himself and facing the world with renewed strength.

Opening up like a slower, less hyperactive version of Take Your Mama by Scissor Sisters, Marlin’s distinct spoken baritone style suddenly makes the tune distinct and personal. As the beat builds up, his vocals start to flow and attach themselves to the song. Deep singing voices don’t usually have much flexibility with big band surroundings, yet Marlin is not fazed at all.

The happiness that’s inherently part of the tune slowly accumulates, despite the brave and somewhat standoffish lyrics about Marlin being his own man. An absolutely epic saxophone solo pushes it to a crescendo in the final minute taking a back seat to a great bunch of secondary singers.

Cliffhanger-esque slowdown prior to each chorus is wonderfully executed, while the vocal harmonisation is nigh-on perfect, using both male and female accomplices to really push his self-belief. The only real let-down is a slow fade at the end, as it seems to infringe on a brilliant guitar solo that could have tied things up nicely.

No matter. The song is brilliant, while the single’s accompaniment – Hit the Button (live) – is also pretty damn sharp (but remarkably different). Expect a lot of tricks up the sleeve of Marlin with Nearly Man.

SOUNDS LIKE: Scissor Sisters if they were crooners on heavy skunk, or Divine Comedy without the palpable sense of humour.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You want something to relax to during the walk home after a heavy day at the office.


Submitted By Matt Gardner



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