02
Nov
09

Burning the Golden Past Into the Wireless Future: Del Marquis’ Runaround

runaround_cover

Back in April, I wrote a review about Scissor Sisters’ guitarist, Del Marquis, upon the release of his third solo EP, Litter to Society. The series and/or narrative of this solo project is now complete with the recent release of Runaround, more of a maxi-single than an EP; unlike the first three pieces, this one isn’t accompanied by a video, but it provides a massive celebratory finish for the cycle, delving generously into the unabashed production values of the 80s while staying organically grounded in a tight groove and deeper lyrical content.

The title track is a glossy, funky tune with plenty of drum machine, synth and bass to support Marquis’ rich vocals. It bubbles up like an irrepressible self-confidence and jubilant expression of breaking away – even if deceit covers your tracks. As he sings “Feeling so right now,” there’s a pleasurable cognitive dissonance, the vintage 80s era collapsing into the present. The next song, Lies By the Bed, uses brass and plinking piano to strut through the soulful delivery of lines like, “when you lie with the vicar it will sting the soul.” After the rather abrupt finish to Lies By the Bed, the slow burn of Each Time I Reach the Sun begins. A barrage of drums are scattered over the intro before settling into a seemingly tribal rhythm. Two minutes into the track, Marquis’ voice dramatically soars in with heart-thrumming passion as electric guitars saw away behind him. It’s my favourite song on the single as it swirls in a darkness made all the blacker for the grasping of intense sunlight. Knowledge and self-awareness can burn the retinas.

At this point, you get five remixes of earlier tracks, including three of Runaround. It could be a bit risky filling a maxi-single with so many versions of the same songs, but the idea works here, especially in light of the concept of multiplicity found in the earlier EPs. The first of these remixes is Character Assassination (BullycauRemix), which re-fashions a track from Marquis’ second solo EP. It’s a slower electro song, but it pulses with a delightful sensuality. With the added insistent and prominent bass along with some higher tones of synth, the Lifelike Remix of Litter To Society from Marquis’ third EP is a frothy, laser-caged version. I would certainly add a track like this to a dancefloor set. Then, there are the various forms of the title track, including the Baron Von Luxxury Silver Lake of Disco Dreams Remix, Louis La Roche ‘In 1995’ Remix, and Loose Cannons Supersonic Remix. The first has harsher metallic elements and some added grinding effects over the vocals, chugging forward like a fluorescent locomotive; however, space is still made for the soulful verses. The Louis La Roche remix pounds away with a more frenetic pace and adds guitar parts that remind me of Spiller’s Groovejet, hence probably the reference to the 90s (yes, Groovejet was released in 2000, but it still has those characteristic elements). In fact Louis La Roche smashes through a decade and ends up transforming something that was very 80s into something quite late 90s. The Loose Cannons Supersonic Remix is the most robotic of the three and dispenses with most of the vocals for warped synth sounds, taking the song the farthest away from its origins.

As much as I eagerly await any new material from the Scissor Sisters, I sincerely hope this isn’t the end of Del Marquis as a solo artist. Throughout this project he’s proven that he has his own distinct musical vision and vocal flair; his are definitely not throwaway pop tracks, but at the same time, they invoke older influences that deliciously resonate in a particular serotonin-soaked part of my brain. There’s also a neatly crafted identity project threaded throughout the EPs, creatively commenting on interiority and blurring the technology-human border. Even the way these EPs were released comments on society and music at the end of the noughties; convergence culture and the digital revolution is all over the project. While many others have returned to the 80s for inspiration this year, you get the feeling that Marquis really understands and embodies the essence; there’s a full-bodied warmth in these songs, nothing brittle or flimsy, and I can’t just dismiss them as Trevor Hornesque. The balance of light and dark is present in all of the music Marquis released over the past year, especially in his conception of “shadow” tracks. Marquis demonstrated that nothing is a fixed point; things can be explored from a multitude of angles and through myriad lenses. And I think we’re all questioning our interior lives more and more as our inner monologue fights to be heard above overwhelming static of the external communications that are invading our very consciousness. I think we currently have more in common with the future-focused, self-absorbed, laissez-faire 1980s than we like to think. Del Marquis is truly prescient in his solo work, burning the golden past into the wireless future.

** I would also like to add that Del Marquis has just collaborated with Microfilm on the excellent track I’ll Sing Like Billy Mackenzie in Heaven, which I’m also including for download here. Cracking song title, too. **

Runaround – Del Marquis

Each Time I Reach the Sun – Del Marquis

I’ll Sing Like Billy Mackenzie in Heaven – Microfilm featuring Del Marquis

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1 Response to “Burning the Golden Past Into the Wireless Future: Del Marquis’ Runaround”


  1. 1 jc
    November 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    There I was scrolling down very quickly as I really have no interest in anything to do with Scissor Sisters (sadly, I just dont get it). But then I see two words ‘Billy’ and ‘Mackenzie’. Surrounded by loads of other words…..now you do have my attention Ms Anglopunk.

    Not quite what I was expecting. But not too shabby I must say.


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I'm much too fast to take that test

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You think you're giving

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(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

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Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

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Your confusion

My illusion

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Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

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You don't want to hurt me

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I want to feel

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You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

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All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

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Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

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With fat men who once met the MC5

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Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

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Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

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Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

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Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

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Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

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Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

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Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

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But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

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To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

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My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

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Down on Fascination Street

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Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

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Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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