Marsheaux ‘Inhale’ (Undo)

Cult Greek duo’s latest album is a devilishly dark synthpop pleasure

Marsheaux’s first two albums, ‘E-Bay Queen’ (2004) and ‘Peek-A-Boo’ (2007), attracted a number of prominent admirers. A key ‘Peek-A-Boo’ track, ‘What A Lovely Surprise’, was featured in The Human League’s pre-show music for the ‘Steel City’ tour, while BBC6 Music’s Tom Robinson and Stuart Maconie also praised their work. Support slots for OMD and Róisín Murphy in Marsheaux’s adopted home of Athens followed although, ironically, they had to decline opening for the Pet Shop Boys in Greece as they were playing their own headline gig in London. Even LA rockers 30 Seconds To Mars were mesmerised and pleaded with the duo to support them.

The group’s strongest collection to date is 2009’s ‘Lumineux Noir’, a technically accomplished album that combined ‘Architecture & Morality’, ‘Violator’ and ‘Dare’, but added a special feminine touch. Now there’s ‘Inhale’, their fourth long player, and it’s been a long time coming. 

‘Over And Over’ drifts along nicely as a sparkling, steadfast opener, but the album’s taster single, ‘Alone’, signifies a maturer approach, with hints of Gary Numan and even EBM. There is classic synthpop too though, like the rousing ‘Self Control’. Among the album’s other highlights, ‘Come On Now’ is Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ reworked by Client, while the title track utilises Ladytron’s electro-rock template. Indeed Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou are possibly the Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo of the Aegean Sea, mythological Greek goddesses of the microKorg. 

One lovely surprise is the almost tribal ‘Never Stop’, the percussive backbone driving along with simulated guitar and windswept drones leading to an enchanting chorus. ‘August Day’ continues with the maturer tone, but ‘End Is A New Start’ returns to the sweet, euphoric electro that Marsheaux are loved for. Greek economic crisis or not, despite Marsheaux’s melancholic demeanour and the downbeat nature of some of the compositions, their wispy charm provides a joyous synthetic journey which is best captured on ‘A Secret Place’. There’s just something about living somewhere sunny. The final track is the Fever Ray inspired ‘Can You Stop Me?’, although the song is a far more immediate proposition and actually has a tune. 

The leap from ‘Lumineux Noir’ to ‘Inhale’ isn’t as big as from ‘Peek-A-Boo’ to ‘Lumineux Noir’, but no matter. ‘Inhale’ will not disappoint Marsheaux’s loyal cult following around the globe. 

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