Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Marinho: “Tilde” (2019) CD Review

A couple of months ago I heard the song “Freckles” by Filipa Marinho, and was immediately struck by the honesty and vulnerability of her voice. There was both pain and strength behind that vocal performance, and that song made a home for itself in my head. There is something surprisingly and undeniably catchy about it, particularly in its rhythms. So of course I was eager to hear more from Marinho. Her debut album, Tilde, features some excellent original material, including “Freckles.”

The disc opens, appropriately enough, with “Intro,” a short track that creates a strong atmosphere, from which Marinho’s voice rises in triumph to tell us “There will be no pain at all.” It is a comforting promise, and an intriguing opening. Marinho follows that with “I Give Up And It’s OK,” a title I absolutely love. This one quickly establishes a rather cheerful beat and pop sound. What happens when we realize that our ideal image of ourselves is perhaps far from the reality? “Just don’t know how to give up my ways/And as I try to stand out/I give up and that’s okay.”  Then “Ghost Notes” has more of a gentle folk vibe to start, on acoustic guitar, before moving more into the pop realm, but its own distinct section of that realm, somewhere near that of Aimee Mann. “The things you didn’t say/The notes you didn’t sing/And I was left with all the songs that I wanted to play.” This is a gorgeous and moving song, featuring some excellent lyrics. “All parts of me wanting to love you, they’ve fallen asleep/I’ve fallen asleep/And now dreams are the only place where my feelings survive.” And I love her vocal delivery here. This is one of my favorite tracks.

There is a cool jazzy element to “Not You,” as well as compelling lyrics. Her vocal delivery is interesting, for at times there is a sweet and gentle element to it, an almost ethereal quality, while at other times there is an edge to it, it being more grounded. “And after pain comes clarity/You see, in my all my years/I’ve been collecting fears.” That’s followed by “Window Pain,” the title playing on the homonyms “pane” and “pain.” Pretty work on guitar begins this one. The track then takes on a bright folk-pop sound, with a sort of bouncy rhythm. Here she sings, “I don’t remember feeling any pain,” reminding us of the repeated line from “Intro.” Another line from this song that stands out for me is “That the memory of pain, it can turn into a good time.” Yeah, she certainly has her own distinct style, particularly lyrically, and that is a great part of the appeal of this album and of Marinho as an artist.

“Joni” has a cool folk-rock sound, which feels right for a song inspired by Joni Mitchell. This track features some really good work on drums. That’s followed by “Freckles,” the song that initially excited me about this release, and one that remains one of my personal favorites. It is about accepting life and the changes it takes you through. It reminds me a bit of early Liz Phair (her first couple of albums were so good). This song also provides the album with its title: “And life is like a tilde sign/With ups and downs, not a straight line.” The album then concludes with “Outro.” The first time I saw “Outro” printed on an album was when I was kid, on the live Rolling Stones album Still Life. It struck me as goofy then, and still does. This track has a raw, immediate sound, like Marinho is playing in our living room. Here she revisits the lines from the first track. “There will be no pain at all.”

CD Track List
  1. Intro
  2. I Give Up And It’s OK
  3. Ghost Notes
  4. Not You
  5. Window Pain
  6. Joni
  7. Freckles
  8. Outro
Tilde was released on October 18, 2019 on Street Mission Records.

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