Prior to actually listening to Marble Valley’s new album release, I was excited to hear that this multi-national outfit included Pavement’s drummer, Steve West, appearing on vocals. As an avid admirer of Mr West’s previous antecedents, I had prepped myself into estimating that his new project would slip into a similar ilk to the 90’s Californian indie puritans. This was simply not the case.

Much to my surprise the introductory track of Breakthrough, ‘Art Pistol’, conjures up sleazily-psychedelic grass-roots level rock and roll, which instantly reminded me to the early days of The Kills, with twin guitar lines competitively screeching harmonies on a tangent. There is also a sense of a laid back, 60’s-psych revivalism feel, which has become increasingly popular with more recent acts, such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre. However, as ‘Wildlife Free-Zone’ followed the opener, it all made a little more sense to my original prediction and there was something Pavement-esque during the verse, yet it still remained technically challenging to put your finger on exactly what it was. Marble Valley does not musically correlate to their vocalist’s former catalogue.

I thought that ‘We Roll’ is where the album really comes into itself. I related this track to the vein of Smashing Pumpkins, yet with a short and sweet structure with the added inclusion of shoegazing guitar tones. Other highlights came from ‘Sweet Comparison’, which accentuates West’s low vocal and could be compared to a more melodic and less narrative Nick Cave. The lyrically reflective ‘Good Life’ emits levels of dark subtext underneath a sonically pretty tune that results in West writing his own obituary. The simple sweetness of ‘Chin Chin’ also sends off Breakthrough in a positive light and is an undeniable conclusion to the album.

Despite obvious influences from many varying musical sub-genres, there is a definable contingency between the songs to create an overall Marble Valley sound. Although on the whole, Breakthrough is only a ‘breakthrough’ by name and certainly not by nature. Due to this lack of music innovation, I would quite literally describe the album as “not bad." I like it. I do not love it. It will not be played at my funeral.

Maybe that comes across a little harsh? Just because it does not exactly ‘butter my crumpet’, there is nothing to say it won’t butter yours.