[21 October 2007]
Portland, Oregon singer-songwriter Leigh Marble comes out cooking on his second album, Red Tornado. His sound is corn-fed Americana indie rock that’s sometimes steeped in a swampy stew of Southern blues. Seething opening cut “Lucky Bastards” leans towards the latter, with thick and heady slide guitar and a menacing rock beat. “Salt in the Wound”, by contrast, is quiet and spare, with Jason Russell’s brushed drums and the accordion sighs of keys man Ben Macy. Marble plays most of the remaining instruments himself, including bass, guitar, harmonica, mellotron, and some percussion. Occasionally, Leigh loses his songs in the haze of his arrangements; or, as on “Gave It All”, he aims for Wilco’s chimerical brand of art rock meets alt-country, only to come up short. Fortunately, Marble succeeds more often than not. He’s a good songwriter and, when he lets his material speak for itself, he hits the mark.