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Marian Hill|ACT ONE (The Complete Collection)

ACT ONE (The Complete Collection)

Marian Hill

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The debut full-length album from Marian Hill, 2016's Act One, deftly showcases the Philadelphia duo's somewhat arty, stripped-down R&B. Featuring the talents of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, Marian Hill also benefits from the contributions of jazz saxophonist Steve Davit, who appears throughout. Centered on Gongol's lithe, if slight vocals, the duo make a minimalist brand of pop R&B built around robotic beats, chilly synth hits, and Davit's cubist post-bop sax lines that often sound as if they've been sampled and spliced into the mix. At best, one gets the sense that Marian Hill are aiming for an aesthetic somewhere along the lines of Beyoncé making an album with '80s electronic outfit Art of Noise. Occasionally they come close, and cuts like "Talk to Me" and "Take Your Time" have a fresh, kinetic energy that captures the band's art-school inclinations and catchy hooks. Elsewhere, tracks like "Down" and "Bout You" have a sultry warmth that sounds like a '90s Brandy track remixed down to its barest essential elements. Admittedly, as conceptually interesting as Marian Hill can be, their particular brand of electronic soul can sometimes feel awkward and square. The main crux is that Gongol, while technically a fine singer, lacks the believable swagger, warmth, and organic, swinging phrasing of singers like Beyoncé or even Sade, whose moody, emotionally bare style is an obvious touchstone for the band. For some listeners, Marian Hill's cool, at-arms-length earnestness will come off as wry, art-school juxtaposition. For others, it may just sound like bland reappropriation.

© Matt Collar /TiVo

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ACT ONE (The Complete Collection)

Marian Hill

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1
Down
00:03:17

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Piano, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

2
Talk To Me
00:03:09

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

3
Wild
00:03:43

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Jeremy Kamp Lloyd, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

4
Bout You
00:03:55

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

5
Take Your Time
00:03:42

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Jeremy Kamp Lloyd, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

6
I Know Why
00:04:07

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

7
Good
00:03:20

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

8
Thinking
00:03:33

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

9
Sad Song
00:03:44

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Jeremy Kamp Lloyd, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

10
Mistaken
00:03:57

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Davit, FeaturedArtist - Stephen Davit, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

11
Same Thing
00:05:28

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

12
I Want You
00:03:32

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Scott, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Miles Comaskey, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

13
oh yeah i love u
00:03:48

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programmer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Jeremy Kamp Lloyd, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Davit, FeaturedArtist - Stephen Davit, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

14
Back To Me
00:02:52

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Lauren Jauregui, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

15
Down
00:03:17

TONY MASERATI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Big Sean, FeaturedArtist - Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Piano, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, ComposerLyricist - Samantha Gongol, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2017 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

DISC 2

1
One Time
00:03:37

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Steve Davit, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

2
Got It
00:03:11

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

3
Lips
00:03:18

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

4
Wasted
00:03:37

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

5
Lovit
00:02:54

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

6
Deep
00:03:27

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

7
Whisky
00:03:10

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

8
Breathe Into Me
00:03:56

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

9
Play
00:03:47

Jeremy Lloyd, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Marian Hill, MainArtist - Samantha Lee Gongol, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.(Photo Finish)

Album review

The debut full-length album from Marian Hill, 2016's Act One, deftly showcases the Philadelphia duo's somewhat arty, stripped-down R&B. Featuring the talents of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, Marian Hill also benefits from the contributions of jazz saxophonist Steve Davit, who appears throughout. Centered on Gongol's lithe, if slight vocals, the duo make a minimalist brand of pop R&B built around robotic beats, chilly synth hits, and Davit's cubist post-bop sax lines that often sound as if they've been sampled and spliced into the mix. At best, one gets the sense that Marian Hill are aiming for an aesthetic somewhere along the lines of Beyoncé making an album with '80s electronic outfit Art of Noise. Occasionally they come close, and cuts like "Talk to Me" and "Take Your Time" have a fresh, kinetic energy that captures the band's art-school inclinations and catchy hooks. Elsewhere, tracks like "Down" and "Bout You" have a sultry warmth that sounds like a '90s Brandy track remixed down to its barest essential elements. Admittedly, as conceptually interesting as Marian Hill can be, their particular brand of electronic soul can sometimes feel awkward and square. The main crux is that Gongol, while technically a fine singer, lacks the believable swagger, warmth, and organic, swinging phrasing of singers like Beyoncé or even Sade, whose moody, emotionally bare style is an obvious touchstone for the band. For some listeners, Marian Hill's cool, at-arms-length earnestness will come off as wry, art-school juxtaposition. For others, it may just sound like bland reappropriation.

© Matt Collar /TiVo

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