Doesn’t Exist is hazy lounge music played in a basement club, except the club is actually a NY apartment bedroom lit by a Tracey Emin neon ‘question’ art piece – and it’s one of those bleak rhetorical questions about love. Oh, and someone may have smoked a bit of weed in there, about five minutes or so ago – so things are kind of fuzzy around the edges.
A singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist duo of Melodie Stancato and Zachary Taube, Marjorie make curiously abstract but at the same time personal bedroom pop. This, their debut EP is a set of distracted narratives about self-doubt and looping thoughts with Stancato the record’s focus as the wandering narrator.
Amongst a backing of sheeny keys, picked guitar, pads, and the acres of space left in this production by the duo, lyrics drift between questions about domesticity, intimacy, and clarity. Taube’s vocals appear relatively briefly, popping up here and there more a character in a neighboring apartment, voicing similar thoughts rather than with the feel of a duet or traditional backing vocals.
While there will be those who will want to playlist Marjorie in with the likes of Broadcast, the gentler side of Nico / VU, or the more stripped-down end of Lætitia Sadier’s discography, there’s a much more singular and disorientating style at play here. These seven songs err on the skeletal and wonky/muzzy side, there is still the strong sense of pop moments and structure across the EP whilst still holding the feel of a collection of aural Notes app entries. There’s very much a freshness and almost casual flow to these songs that gives the impression that these aren’t ideas hammered into static structures like so many butterflies on pins. With the rare uses of live bass and saxophone on the EP, Marjorie show there is scope for use of a wider palette into avant-pop territories in the future.
This EP’s seven songs solidly demonstrate Marjorie’s carefree chemistry, Doesn’t Exist is a first step that they’ll hopefully follow up soon.