Album in Depth: Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall

Hi, I’m JotaKa. I’m a rocker by birth and grew listening to rock discs and long plays by the dozen. So, I kind of got away from computers and stuff after my Helloween review because of midterms and such, which is I believe a plausible reason to get away some time. But more than one month is just cruel without writing, so here I am back to talk about another album.

Some time ago, a person whose name I don’t recall made a double post on the tgwtg blogs and I advised him to not do that ever again. He frankly apologized and after some exchanged messages, I asked him for suggestion on albums, and he suggested me “Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum” by Tally Hall. I never heard of the band or the album, so I went to check it out. To get the album, was kind of difficult: they aren’t famous and for what I could gather, they have a kind of comedy based site and aren’t arduously pursuing fame. So, when I got this album, I really was open minded as always, since it was a completely new experience to me. So, who is Tally Hall and what the hell is the Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum? A little background is required:

The year is 2005. Green Day released Bullet in the Bible, which I believe was the first sign of a change that would be permanent and horrible, and XTC gone officially on hiatus. The last nail on the Star Wars franchise is released as Star Wars III and Crash wins the Academy Award for best movie. Richard Pryor went to make god giggle and Pat Morita is teaching Karate on the other side of the pearly gates.

The band Tally Hall started more as an experiment than a band, I believe, but they worked hard since 2002. With a drummer change and ties referring to them, Rob Cantor, Ross Federman, Joe Hawley, Andrew Horowitz and Zubin Sedghi formed Tally Hall, each and everyone with a color tie. Although I find that kind of stupid, but in fact, I believe that the idea is to be stupid, maybe I’m wrong. It really sounds like just a comedic group more than an actually band trying to rock out.

From the outside of the album, I have to say that it kind of catches my eye. I like black and white stuff, more so if there is also some colored in stuff, like the band and the logo. Even though I would find it more amusing if they were all like in some pose, the cover does his part with all of them drawn and looking straight at you, and what can I say, it is cool. The elapsed time of the album is 49:10, which is by my standards the perfect duration for an album, with the shortest song being 0:13, which is sad and really annoys me, and the longest song is 5:09, which is actually a pretty decent longest song duration.

The only rating I could find was that it earned four stars at All Music. Since they are very underground, I can say that they weren’t aiming huge recognition, even though they would probably be happy with an extra income. So, let’s get this over with: Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall.

1st track: “Good Day” – Okay, strange intro. The song is really broken down and has a really strange pace, with some strange lyrics and a strange tune. It sounds like it’s a bunch of music pasted together, but you know what? It works. It works wonderfully. The song has a really cute theme some times and a strange theme overall, and even though I can’t say is a perfect song, it grew on me. It is a great intro track, because it really leaves you with a “want more” taste, and that’s what an intro track should do. Even with that being said, near the 2:17 mark, the song changes completely, and again, it works perfectly. These guys should be called the kings of the bridges. And just a minor note: after you hear this song, you will be singing “let us sing” till the day you die.

2nd track: “Greener” – This song has nothing to do with the first one. It has a more of a punk rock sound to it, but the vocals don’t resemble any punk rock style I am aware of. The lyrics, this time around, are straight forward, even though melodically, it sounds like two/three songs mixed together, but again, it works. I can’t really explain in words, but in this track, you see that they aren’t playing around with the instruments: in the first track, that doubt could be raised, but this time, they knew what they were doing. It reminds me of Hoobastank, but a good Hoobastank. Even though this track grew on me more than the before mentioned, it is definitely “awesomer”, with a killer ending: a great song, indeed.

3rd track: “Welcome to Tally Hall” – Now here is a tough challenge: try to reprise Sultans of Swing while not sounding tacky. In my opinion, songs explaining who the personnel are just stupid and meaningless, but let’s give the song a chance. The song is more based on rap this time around, which made my face go like “what the fuck is happening”, but it’s a fun rap. It’s fucking amusing. For one of the first times in my life, I enjoyed the rapping. The song is an introductory song of who the band is and what the message behind it is in a fun way, even demonstrating that they don’t believe that they are a band. The lyrics are amusing, the overall construction of the music is cool, and the more melodic parts sound really well put together.

4th track: “Taken for a Ride” – As always, they changed again the style of music, going to a more electronic oriented song. Even though most of the song is really technological, there are some parts where the hi-tech is completely ignored; as if it was more than one song mixed together (that’s a constant throughout the entire album). The lyrics are creative and melancholic and it has an overall upbeat touch to it, even with the melancholy of some verses. It is a well constructed song and fans of light electronic stuff (daft punk) will probably enjoy this song.

5th track: “The Bidding” – The rapping is back; this time announced a men auction. The lyrics are fun, the overall melody is just awesome and the Gregorian humming at the intro gives the sensation that it’s more serious than it appears, since the lyrics have more comedic value than anything else. Even though I like the rapping part (again), is outside of it that this song in particular shines: when the song reaches the 1:40 mark, the song, again, changes completely to something that would easily be in my favorite excerpts of any album ever made, and that’s not a thing I say lightly.

6th track: “Be Born” – A more punk folk song follows the mix of genres that this album represents. With, again, smart lyrics and a contriving melody, it really brings itself closer to “Good Riddance (Time of your Life)”, with the sad theme and violin; probably one of my favorite songs of this album.

7th track: “Banana Man” – A strange song with a stranger theme and with a bizarre construction: this is one of the two that didn’t go to my I-Pod. It is pretty bland for the entire album and with more comedic value than musical value, it fails to impress. The song has its good moments, true, but it’s too short and too far apart. The lyrics are really naïve and innocent or completely pornographic. The song greatest part starts in the 2:39 mark and the song get’s really catchy, with a sort of Bossa Nova style that I really enjoy.

8th track: “Just Apathy” – A complete change of style once more with a more melodic song, with a intro with just piano and violin. When the song changes completely with a guitar and a bass, the song gets more enjoyable, even though I really enjoy the intro. The chorus is super creative as the whole arrangement just goes with me completely. The vocals are inspired and the instrumental part of it is really cool.

9th track: “Spring and A Storm” – Now this is a song that grew a lot on me. At first it sounds really childish, and it is: in the middle of it, it sounds as a child book, even with a conversation between girls and Mr. Moon, man never explained. There is even a sentence that astonished me, when the girls question Mr. Moon what he thinks happen when you die: “Well I think you return to obscure/Or wherever you were before you were/But I’m Won’t Let You Lose Yourself in the Rain”. I could analyze this as a Atheist message and be delighted by its intrinsic message, but actually, it’s better than that: it may possibly be the most optimistic scenario for where you go when you die EVER! Melody speaking, it’s simple and happy even though the message gets mixed here and there, whereas the theme is simply “for every shit there’s a happy face, not necessarily in that order”. Even though its simplicity is cute, the ending rocks your socks out.

10th track: “Two Wuv” – This is the other song that I didn’t like that much. With a kind of lo-fi style and a bizarrely generic punk ambient, the song fails to impress. Although kind of funny, the lyrics don’t are incredible: hell, they aren’t even amusing. If you are a fan of Offspring or Bad Religion, this may be a starter. The melody is really bland with no soul or inspiration.

11th track: “Haiku” – Of all the songs in this album, this one was probably the one that grew the more. With ambient sounds and some kind of Hawaiian song that talks about ancient Asian poetry, this song sounds meaningless and completely harmless, but when looking at it with other eyes, it’s actually a pretty deep love song with a fun tune to it. The vocals are inspired in the right amount, and even though it sounds like two songs completely independent mixed together at some point, they mingle well with one another.

12th track: “The Whole World and You” – Don’t let the fucking piano and the infantile environment this song has fool you: it’s fucking genius. The lyrics are simply a guy talking to some other guy that he isn’t the center of all attention (kind of like You’re So Vain). The message is so well put across that you don’t think the song had any meaning until you stop and listen: I was fooled by that. This song is probably where they mixed perfectly their great sense of humor with their ability to make catchy childish tunes with great expertise. When the song gets intense, the song includes some 50’s and make this song completely unforgettable: a piece of brilliant minds that could very well be greater than most works out there.

13th track: “13” – It’s a thirteen second instrumental music. It serves as a bridge to the next track but… well, I can’t say its piss poor planning since it doesn’t count as a song and never was intended to be like that.

14th track: “Ruler of Everything” – This chaotic song with a completely bizarre lyric and a “Tim Burtonesque” feel to it kind of complete the deal: at some points, this track could be easily mistaken with Gorillaz, and that’s pretty excellent news. With some clever notes and enigmatic lyrics, the song catches you with the whimsical opening to the intense ending. When I said that these guys should be considered the kings of the song bridge, I’m not joking: they spend the entire album mixing two tracks per track and it doesn’t sound completely dissonant. I applaud, Tally Hall.

15th track: “Hidden in the Sand” – Why? The previous was the perfect ending song, why include another one? Okay, this is pretty much the most upbeat song in the bunch with a beach feeling to it, talking about none sense and some crap like that. It’s not bad; it’s a good track, but… Ruler of Everything is the ending track everyone asked god, and you include this after minutes of silence after Ruler of Everything? However, with the clever usage of back vocals and the whole melody being cleverly put together, the song does not suck: it just isn’t fit to be an ending track.

So how does it all hold up? To be honest, by my standards, it achieved two great places in my opinion: it is the best album of the decade (that’s not saying too much, I know) and it’s the second best album ever (and that’s saying too much). Okay, let me get this straight: my favorite album is Deep Purple’s Machine Head. It doesn’t have my favorite songs and it’s not my favorite bands, but all its 7 tracks are well put together, are creative, don’t have filler and are pumped with the everlasting power of rock ‘n roll! If it was a Landmark Album Review with NYUN, it would probably get a lower point average than Dark Side of the Moon, but there are some things in DSotM that Landmark Album Review does not cover, and many of those are the standards that make an excellent album. Tally Hall’s “Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum” has a pretty mood swinging selection but does not let you feeling misled or with mixed feelings, it doesn’t have any fillers (the two songs I don’t like that much are crowd favorites) and it’s a pretty fun album to hear in one single go, so, yeah, it’s the second best album ever. Congratulations, Tally Hall. As for Tally Hall, they have a site and a bunch of clips that may be the most original clips I’ve seen in a while. Granted, most clips are boring and unoriginal these days (even some time back they were boring), but even so, that’s an accomplishment.

This is JotaKa, signing off.

Follow me on twitter @jotakapf

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One Response to Album in Depth: Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall

  1. Pingback: Album in Depth: Good & Evil by Tally Hall | Jotaka's Studio

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