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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 PhillipsDeath 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 Earth And All The Universes Marvin B NaylorMarvin 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 off-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.

 
Deeply rooted in the classic rock and pop of the late 1960s, but all the same in a more modern idiom, Naylor comes up with a style that’s still all his own. Add to that a pleasant voice and some great 12-string playing and you have an album that instantly grabs your attention. All ten songs are Naylor originals that are hard to fault and varied in subject and mood. This album is a joy, and beautifully executed too. Imaginative, original, a fantastic listen. Wonderfully consistent, The Stargazer’s Symphonium is a drug – totally addictive, irresistible, not mearly compelling. Naylor and his music are utterly irrepressible and as fresh as they are refreshing…(The Stargazer’s Symphonium) is a must have for any singer-songwriter as well as 12-string guitar aficiando. And the album’s appeal surely extends much more widely, too. Rich Sharm – Rainlore’s World Of Music.
…the follow up (to The Last Flight Of Billy Balloon) is just as enigmatic. However, take the time to enter his multi-layered fantasy exploration through a bedrock of scintillating guitar into the far side of bizarre soundscapes, fractured enigmatic lyrics, eccentric tunes with unexpected twists and you’ll discover something strange but wonderful. Tim Carroll – Folkwords
There is a refreshing innocence about the music of Marvin B Naylor ….like listening to a mind rush, ideas fly past you, barely finding time to take root before the next one comes flying in…These are songs that really do have flashes of genius, drawing on science, history, geography, cosmology and many writings to assemble their wisdom. (No Thankful Village) is a dark, at times harrowing song that really does reflect the impact of war on a nation and people. Neil King – Fatea .
…from pomp and ceremony in sunshine to overcast seaside lamentation, Marvin creates a broad backdrop for a picturesque work which I can only describe a wonderful. Damian Burke – The Doughnut (formerly Copasetix)
Reviews for the album THE LAST FLIGHT OF BILLY BALLOON (2008)
 Marvin commands the 12 string guitar with consumate skill, exploring all it’s scope and scale and more. Yet there’s more here than just agreeable guitar: each song builds to a layered soundscape with acres for you to explore…(White Lady) in turn captivates and intrigues, driven by deliciously precise guitar , augmented by intricate vocals…each song is pure Marvin B Naylor; each reflecting his own style, inspiration, innovation and execution. This album breaks away from following and cuts it’s own idiosyncratic path…there is no borderline, no ambivalence and no middle ground with this album…Tim Carroll (Folkwords)
This collection of thoughts and visions is composed of dots and slashes, which then form a vivid rainbow of songs unlike anything found in the last three decades. It isn’t psychedelic, but there is certainly something beneath it’s constantly moving surface that suggests Syd Barrett would’ve loved it. Sincere and with genius musicality, this album will struggle for recognition, but everyone should try to give it the time it deserves. The blooming opener “Little Piece Of Magic” and “White Lady” are simply beautiful… All is spurred on by an unerving talent for being able to make the 12-string guitar sound like a harpsichord, piano or mass of stringed things…Gary Munday (Acoustic)
The opening song, ‘Little Piece Of Magic’ is a five minute mini-epic, and shows Naylor at his best. There is a good sense of dynamics, strange lyrics and interesting instrumental passages that appear where you wouldn’t expect them. There are many pleasant instrumental passages, particularly the acoustic guitars and keyboards (Marvin plays everything) resulting in some delicate soft pop, such as ‘Alice And Marianne’ and the folky ‘Portrait Of A Woman’ which reminds me, instrumentally and vocally of the young Cat Stevens…Phil Suggit (Shindig!)
There is a beautiful talent, and that shines persistently throughout the album. The opening track is filled with some serene guitar playing, with beautiful sweeping elements and gentle intelligent strumming that captures the listener beautifully. The accompanying instrumentals add to the piece as well to create a stunning atmosphere. Overall it is hypnotically well composed and brilliantly well produced. Subsity Radio “Little Piece Of Magic” is overrun with quirky characters and places, Naylor’s voice switching between a quaver, a warble and a baritone… Naylor’s vocal range impresses and the production surprises even more so. It’s a quaint and singular ride… by Stephen Eddie (Die, Shellsuit Die!)
“Dulcibella Play! has tons of personality. The 12 string guitar is picked, creating a counterpoint to Marvins’ vocal. Strings and slide guitar are mixed in to add flavour and there’s even a banjo section. At its peak, this song feels like The Beatles, circa ‘Day In The Life’.” The Mag
“I’ve been on a bit of a journey with this particular album…it was only on play nine that the album really fell into place for me, so much so that I now really like this album. It’s got a real warmth and gentleness to it, at times folky at others it has a lo-fi pop feel to it which I know sort of contradicts itself a little as a description, but you’d have to listen to get what I mean” – The Beat Surrender review
…the guy’s a whiz at acoustic guitar. Most of the production work was done on a 12-string guitar with Mr. Naylor playing other instruments (cello, violin, banjo) as required… My first impression on listening to the music was that “Balloon” was one of those concept albums so popular in the late 60’s and 70’s when being just good ol’ rock and roll wasn’t enough. There is a quintessential British feel to this album…I didn’t always know where the songs were going, but the trip was enjoyable… This is one of those CDs where, every time you listen, you hear something that wasn’t there before. There’s kind of an ethereal feel to the music…Mr. Naylor is a superior sort of guitarist and he creates an interesting audioscape with his instrument and his voice. His voice is a very flexible instrument and he does a good job of emoting through a combination of tone and phrasing. Jeremiah Sutherland (Bullfrog Music).