Manda and the Marbles

Had Manda and the Marbles existed two decades ago, the group might have tangled with the Go-Go’s for sun-kissed supremacy in an old-fashioned showdown at the New Wave Corral. Though they hail from the decidedly ocean-free Columbus, Ohio, the Marbles channel the carefree beach breeziness of that ravishing quintet’s SoCal power punk. Joe A. Damage’s chugging riffs zig-zag like choice Valley Girl soundtrack cuts, the dizzying “Fast Cars” adds keyboard stylings from girlish vocalist Manda, and the group’s cover of early-’80s pop shoulda-beens Holly and the Italians’ “Wanna Go Home” bounces with surf beats and buzz-saw chords. The Marbles shouldn’t be mistaken for lightweight retrofitters, however; sour-tinged tales coated in sugary musical goodness are the trio’s specialty. Though stocked with flirty tunes aflame with cheeky desire, the group’s 2002 album More Seduction also contains biting reminiscences and restless introspection. Even the apparently chirpy “Hey!” turns out bittersweet, with lines such as A person can only laugh so much/When the deception is thick yet filled with love stinging like a poisonous kiss.

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