Record Review: Marvelous Darlings – “Single Life”

Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham may get most of the attention but third guitarist Ben Cook is certainly the busiest member of Toronto psychedelic-punks Fucked Up.

In between the steady stream of singles with his day job, Cook has released his own army of EPs and seven-inches as Young Governor, the Bitters and Marvelous Darlings, the latter of whom gets the compilation treatment on Single Life.

Formed in 2007 and rarely playing live, the quartet released half-a-dozen seven-inch slabs of punked up power pop, in the vein of the Exploding Hearts and White Wires, each performed with the abandon of a band playing for its life. Cook proves to be a formidable singer; opener “I Don’t Want to Go To the Party” bubbles over with bratty energy while “Teenage Targets” shows-off his knack for complicated arrangements without losing the band’s visceral edge.

Cook and co split the record in half, with A-sides at the beginning and B-sides at the end, meaning that the Single Life’s back half is a tad weaker (emphasis on “a tad”) than its front. But the overall quality of material will leave listeners hoping this isn’t this group’s swan song.

“I’ll Stand By Her”

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