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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeWith a pop rock sound that is easily appealing to a wide range of listeners, the buzz that the Milwaukee-based duo Fever Marlene has created is palpable on local airwaves; however, in sharing the stage at Turner Hall with four musicians from other local acts-- Northern Room, Cocksmiths and On a Sun-- the music was louder and the stage fuller, but the attempt at being a more proper rock outfit was lost amidst a haze of instruments.
While their newest album White China, seems to catch the duo of Scott Starr and Kevin Dunphy more comfortable with a raw pop sound, and arguably their best material, the show was decidedly pop rock and lacked the expansiveness their subtler tunes possess. One absolute standout from the new album was the reflective "Don't Know Why I Worry So," in which Starr commanded the song with voice and guitar alone in a sort of David Gray fashion. In full form, the toe-tapping hook of "Khemitones" dug deep and directly benefited from the extra musicians, but the quirky pop of "Some Saturdays" and "When Daniel Goodings Made It Rain" and the straight-ahead rock attempts of "Red Fire" and "All the Kites in the World" were all but muddled together as one.
Visually, both as a six-piece band on stage and in the host of media the band has released, Fever Marlene looked every bit like rock stars, but the group was at its best when the well-crafted pop tunes were anything but brash, stripping off the rock image and staying away from the faux British accent.
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