Background Magazine review of Earth And All The Universes and Spaceships There Are (2016)
Earth And All The Universes is the fourth studio album by multi-instrumentalist Marvin B. Naylor. All songs are written, played and produced by Marvin. He plays a variety of stringed instruments, piano, Theremin and also sings on most tracks, a real multitalented guy. Some percussion and additional production is done by Gary J. Brady.
The music reminds me of the late 60s and early 70s semi-psychedelic pop music. The production also reminds me of the music from that era, a bit too much reverb for example, but somehow it really fits the music. The music itself is lovely. It contains a lot of acoustic guitar, mostly twelve string. The lyrics, however, are far from serious. They contain a lot of humour, which I really like and puts a smile on my face. You never know what to expect with each song. I can’t help it, but I sing along with some of the tracks (or at least hum along).
The album starts with the track For Sleeping Angels. Marvin sings that you shouldn’t take life too seriously (Aha, will do, Marvin!). After one and a half minutes the song opens up and becomes slightly more filled with instruments. The Never Delivery Of Yesterday has a very happy and catchy chorus. The Pirouettist reminds me of music The Beach Boys made back in the day. This song contains no lyrics but Marvin sings and hums along with the music.Diaphenia is a gentle and calm track with Marvin playing a variety of guitars. Ballad In E Major is such a beautiful piano ballad. It makes me very emotional, no vocals, no other instruments, just piano. Little Bell starts as a sweet and soft song. Around 4 minutes the track slightly changes with a semi-haunting instrumental outro. The Photograph is a melancholic track. The Conversation is the shortest track on the album, which is also instrumental. The guitar playing reminds me a bit of Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips. Death Of A Centenarian starts as a slow track, but it opens up after 3,5 minutes with more instruments and choirs. Sadly the fade out starts too soon in my opinion, because when you’re finally in the mood to appreciate the complete song it starts to fade out. I Am A Summer Night is the longest track of the album. It’s quite a spooky song in the beginning, but after 2 minutes the songs gets a positive twist. You think the song is over after 7 minutes but not much later the track gets a bombastic reprise.
Spaceships There Are is an EP containing two tracks (although the Bandcamp EP version has 4 tracks now). Expect the same music style as the album Earth And All The Universes. The title track Spaceships There Are is my favourite track from Marvin. I love the sound of the bass, the ambience of the song and the positive vibe it carries along. After 3,5 minutes it gets a surprising turn and becomes bombastic, including firm drums and guitar work. The bombastic part of the track only lasts half a minute and it becomes a calmer track again. Brief Encounter starts as a tender song, but after 2,5 minutes it gets very haunting for a short while. After 3,5 minutes the song ends with a lovely piece of piano.
I can understand that this music is not meant for everyone, luckily I really enjoy his combination of humour and music style. If you like light psychedelic music that reminds you of warm and quiet summer days, then you should give both albums a listen!
****+ (both) Iris Hidding (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Reviews for the album EARTH AND ALL THE UNIVERSES (2014)
FOLKWORDS review of Earth And All The Universes. Reviewed by Charlie Elland. One way to ensure you convey the scope of your album is an all-encompassing title. How about ‘Earth And All The Universes’? Doesn’t get much wider does it? That’s the latest album from Marvin B. Naylor, he of such inscrutable and previously puzzling albums as The Last Flight Of Billy Balloon and The Stargazer’s Symphonium – impossible to categorise, bizarrely intricate and at times unfathomable. This latest release continues the trend. ‘Earth And All The Universes’ encapsulates wildly rushing layers of thought that have gone before and adds even more perplexing content to create another soundscape that lurches through folk and rock towards psychedelia and back through surreal and mystifying to leave you satisfied though exhausted. From the ethereal opening of ‘For Sleeping Angels’ through the darker sweep and ominous lyrics of ‘The Never Delivery Of Yesterday’ and the echoing ‘Diaphenia’ with its gentle counsel to the string-driven sweep of ‘Little Bell’ you share the unrestricted expanses of Marvin B. Naylor’s world and universe. This album takes you on a convoluted journey with a cornucopia of sounds and images that will at times move faster than your thoughts, and that is half the attraction, running to catch up and playing a track again just to be certain you heard what you heard. The other half of its inscrutable attraction is delving into its fantasy tales to discover their depths. Take note however, this is one of those albums that take time. First hearing dosen’t even scratch the surface. To fathom and ultimately to enjoy this, you need to take the trip a few times, because you’ll find more enticements with each excursion.
SHINDIG! review of Earth And All The Universes. Reviewed by Neil Hussey. “Don’t take it all so seriously”, runs the refrain on the opening track of this latest release by Marvin B Naylor – singer, songwriter, guitarist, blogger and busker – and it’s pretty good advice for the listener, as it turns out. Naylor has constructed an album that is, at times, oddly unsettling, endearingly o…ff-kilter, winningly old-fashioned, and aching with a childlike naivete, yet it exerts a strange fascination, too. ‘The Photograph is’ all sepia-tinted nostalgic whimsy; ‘Little Bell’ is suffused with lush, Disney-esque mawkishness, and the florid piano piece ‘Ballad In E Major’ is rather lovely. Elsewhere, lush, layered vocal harmonies and incandescent melodies bring to mind The Beach Boys; in fact the wordless harmonising on ‘The Pirouettist’ is like the Wison clan soundtracking a Pearl & Dean cinema ad. This album revels in its idiosyncrasies which, in these days of musical blandness and uniformity, is a recommendation in itself.
FATEA review of Earth And All The Universes. Reviewed by Neil King. The sight of a Marvin B. Naylor album coming out of the padded envelope is always one that fills me with a real sense of anticipation and that feeling was in no way diminished when his latest cut “Earth And All The Universes” made its way from PO Box to cd player, because Marvin B. Naylor is an innovator, one that makes song, tunes and 12 strings work to find that something new. Whilst you can feel his inspirations coming through, classic sixties pop and psyche, it’s the way he combines them with a love of words and a freedom to express them in a means of his choosing that gives his music a real distinction and a razor sharp cutting edge. That often means that if you’re looking for an instant fix, a hit of the here and now, that his albums might not be for you, that said there are always songs on his albums that take an immediate hold on you and on “Earth And All The Universes” it’s two instrumentals, “The Pirouettist” and “Ballad In E Major” that really grab you, the former uses voice as an instrument, the latter a piano ballad where the piano does all the talking. There is never any compromise in what Marvin does, the album feels very much of an artist that clearly shouts out, ‘This is me, take it or leave it.’ Sometimes that can be quite a surreal experience, the aural equivalent of watching the flickering black and white silent shorts from the early days of the moving image, doing something because it was pushing a boundary when others had yet to even see a border. Yes there were times when I got partway through a track only to flick the player forward because it was a little too intense for the mood I was in, sometimes I did it because it seemed a little frivolous, but ultimately I would always go back, because the effort is always worthwhile, there’s always a reward to be had.