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Marvin B Naylor Marvin B Naylor
Album: The Spiral Sky
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

There are those who readily proclaim Master Naylor as a 'genius'; some who think he's pretty clever and still more who are not sure at all what to make of him and his oeuvre. He makes films, grooves about and seemingly has a lot of fun in the sun.

Music-wise he has a neat line in glistening 12-string guitar figures, robust riffs and sun-kissed harmonies that channel the likes of Van Dyke Parks, Roger McGuinn and Al Kooper, with arrangements that relish the more outré moments of Flaming Lips, Super Furry Animals and Modest Mouse. In essence it's sunshine pop with progressive folk twist and just the occasional glimpse of the avant-prog dark side - a nightmare confusion of Yes, Focus, Pink Floyd et al.

Recorded in Winchester and London over a three-year period some of The Spiral Sky - the title track is a response to Black Sabbath's Spiral Architect, if it needed one - has been shared before, most notably the cosmic ramble of Spaceships There Are and the stratospheric groove of When My World Stops Turning. The David Bowie tribute, Human God surfaced on last year's EP of the same name, and finds Naylor extending various Bowie-inspired lyrical themes into the music with flash fried references in the guitar tracks that in less able hands would sound ham fisted and more than a little gauche. Just as successful is Ode to Peggy Christie with its lush guitar shapes and skyscraping melody.

However, on the down side, Peter's Place is a somewhat clumsy homage to the late Peter Sarstedt and if the title of the instrumental Moonsets of Aerah sets off your inner bullshit detector then it's with good cause - it's overblown, stretched too thin and just a bit too clever for its own good… there really was no need Marv.

But if you can get beyond such aberrations then there's much in latest offering from Planet Marvin to suggest the air is quite capable of sustaining a suspended seventh, the sound of life itself.

Nick Churchill