MARVELOUS DARLINGS: Live at Gales Snack Bar: 12″ 45

Live records are a risky business. On one hand, yes, of course, seeing a band live is the best possible scenario for music. Plug in a recorder; capture magic. Sounds like a no-brainer. On the other hand, something’s always lost in translation from live to tape or video. Also, rarely, if ever, are there new songs released on live records. And if there’s a lot of banter between songs, it’s difficult to repeatedly listen to the record. Live at Gales Snack Bar works very well. It confirms what I’ve suspected down the golden brick road of all the Young Governor, The Bitters, and Marvelous Darlings 7” has laid down before: Ben Cook is a performer of a high order. If you don’t make hard and fast distinctions between pop, powerpop, punk, hardcore, and garage, but like maximum melody and volume, he’s well worth checking out. This is one of those rare live records that could win over new fans instead of solely rewarding the already-faithful with a kickass set in a Toronto greasy spoon with insanely cheap prices. Try the grilled cheese.

 –todd (Deranged))