Marlboro Chorus Youth Medium

Sometimes the best stories come from the most unexpected places. Middle America might conjure up images of sleepy towns, but the Marlboro Chorus have succeeded in making their music sound at least interesting and at times, downright fascinating. Unfortunately, until now they’ve also been making it sound very similar from song to song too. With Youth Medium, the Marlboro Chorus are finally beginning to show some progress. They sound more like a band than a solo project and that has been accompanied by a fuller sound that is much more engaging than their debut, bringing them closer than ever to the likes of Beulah and even the New Pornographers. Some things haven’t changed though and these ten songs still document strange tales from the underbelly of US life — it’s no coincidence that one track is called "Dark America,” which could have easily been the album’s title. And just like the band’s previous recordings, Youth Medium disguises this lyrical darkness with happy, poppy tunes that belie the immorality and innuendo. It might be an old trick, but it works beautifully here and the Marlboro Chorus continue to go from strength to strength. (Future Appletree)