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World Renown For Romance
Artist: Denison Marrs
Label: Velvet Blue Music
Length: 12 Tracks

I've heard many bands on the verge of breaking up say that the whole grind of touring and recording just isn't worth it anymore. The long nights, low pay, and sheer stress of the music business can be enough for anyone to throw in the towel when the going gets tough. Denison Marrs is one of those bands that fits the above explanation. The fact that their record label went bankrupt, leaving them in loads of
legal red tape, should have done them in. But they persevered and knew their talent was too good to waste. The result was a project that surpasses their debut, Holding Hands at 50,000 Feet. Fans have already gotten a glimpse of the new project, thanks to a couple of tracks ("The New Droan" and "A Consequence Plan") on a split EP with Stavesacre. Both those tunes fit the emo motif of World Renown For Romance, but it's songs like the opening cut "Sing With Me" and "Love and Its Grand Scheme" that show the group's ability to transform from a patient and gentle sound, to a much more urgent and accelerated beat. Indeed, listeners will find a lot of paced variety and drawn out emotional interpretation on the new project, confirming that the group's continuation was well worth it.

Andy Argyrakis  9/6/2001

It’s obvious to whom Denison Marrs owes their musical debts—Sunny Day Real Estate, Stavesacre and the Smashing Pumpkins, among others—but they’ve still managed to craft a semi-original take on emo with World Renown For Romance, their second full-length record and their first on Velvet Blue. 

Their version of the truth is anthemic, vaguely self-righteous, and alternately thick and thin, as twangy arpeggios give way to walls of distortion and lead singer Eric Collins wails his lyrics in a fashion that, if not entirely in-key, isn’t unattractive, either. This holds up quite well for the first half of the album, through songs like "Send the Stars" and especially "The New Droan (Light Years Away)," but halfway through the album, we encounter "Twilight Eyelight," a sludgy mess that stops the band’s momentum dead in its tracks. They never quite recover from this, and the second half of the record is decidedly inferior, although "A Consequence Plan" and the splendid, sweeping instrumental "Transatlantic" almost fix things. 

Michial Farmer (9/11/2001)

There are a small number of bands that are making good, original-sounding alternative music these days. The bands  don't get near the recognition that they deserve. Bands like Pedro the Lion, Starflyer 59, TwoThirtyEight, and now Denison Marrs.

Denison Marrs has been hiding out in Florida for a few years, playing shows and releasing some music, but only in limited numbers. Now, with the new full-length album World Renown For Romance its time for Denison Marrs to break out and time for those searching for truly good music to add another gem to their collection.

The music on World Renown For Romance would best be described as emo. However, this is not any kind of cheap ripoff of any popular band in an exploding genre. No sir. I only call this emo because it fits more into that genre than any other. Once you've tasted the album and digested it a few times, you will see that it's more lush and tasteful than many emo releases that you could compare it to. Words like atmosphere and spacey work best to describe what Denison Marrs does with their music. This is art and they make it well.

The lyrics of World Renown For Romance focus on the simple, yet complex topic of love. As the band reveals, love is what being a Christian is all about. In fact, love is what being alive is all about. From love comes grace, mercy, and faith. Most of the songs refer to love in light of relationships. "Sing With Me," the album opener best shows the heart of the album. In that song, we begin the journey and take part in what Denison Marrs is doing. Songs like "Memorized" and "Let's Dance" are rather simplistic in their theme of love, while the ballad "Love and Its Grand Scheme" leaves a bit more food for thought. Other album high points include the mellow "Twilight Eyelight" and the more upbeat "A Consequence Plan," which sings of love lost: "I never wanted this in any way. Your look kills me every day." 

After such a heavy emotional journey, it's only appropriate to end with an instrumental song. That's how World Renown For Romance carries out its ending, with the poetically titled "Transatlantic." The drumbeat slows as the track comes to an end, yet the heart beats on and for those who become repeat listeners of Denison Marrs, the heart may beat a bit more energetically and with more purpose.

Trae Cadenhead 11/4/2001

Denison Marrs’ latest record, World Renown For Romance, wanders through a dozen musings about life, love, and other mysteries, stopping to linger on the ‘love’ part. Some of the songs move straight through, with Collins passing rapidly from verse to chorus and back again, but most meander through a haze of fuzz and drifting guitars. Denison is probably the closest thing to a Radiohead clone in the Christian market, although they are distinguished from the aforementioned British band by Denison’s
tendency to rely more on guitar-and-drum arrangements than the computer-generated music Radiohead favors.

Standout songs include "Let’s Dance," a pure love song that is one of the most radio-accessible songs on the disc. The other is the first single, "The New Droan (Light Years Away)" which was first featured on Denison’s split EP with Stavesacre. On the more artistic side, the first track, "Sing With Me" clocks in at over eight minutes. Many bands save their ‘jam session’ songs for closing out the disc, so kudos go to Denison for bucking the trend. 

The band also squeezes in two instrumental songs, "People Mover (Pt2)" and "Transatlantic." While the songs have a tendency to sound the same after a while, this is a minor caveat. World Renown For Romance is an exceptionally well-crafted album, and is a must-have for any alternative music fan.

John Wilson 1/22/2002


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