Tony Marriott Solitude

Vancouver songwriter Tony Marriott’s journey has run parallel to the Pacific between the creative centres of San Francisco and Vancouver. He spent much of the ’90s in music school, playing in several R&B acts across the continent, honing his songwriting skills and for a time, living and playing with the late Jeff Buckley. His third album, following 1999’s Looking for Dorian and The Bad Machine from 2002, is called Solitude. Marriott’s multilayered pop sounds along the lines of a down tempo Stills, a harmoniously textured soundscape that fills the space in between the ears, insistently telling its story while leaving few aural avenues unexplored. His warm voice maintains an unassuming presence, as multiple guitars and the occasional baritone sax accent the melodic lines carried via piano and organ. Despite its natural beauty and indie appeal, Solitude isn’t as innovative as Marriott’s aptitude clearly allows. While many of the album’s tracks don’t cave to the over worn ways of today’s modern, indie and orchestral pop rock, there’s something unsatisfying about knowing that those songs that do, inevitably the singles, don’t fully explore the musical depth to which Marriott often ventures. He’s certainly at his best when his ’60s pop sensibility merges with the dramatic delivery reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright and late ’90s Radiohead. It’s an aesthetic that need only be more consistently applied. Nevertheless, Solitude is a solid release that will likely age well. (Independent)