Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
Buy On
  1. Mar 19, 2013
    The Chronicles of Marnia is an album that demands multiple journeys through the wardrobe, only this time it's to fully take in the album's melodic depths rather than to make sense of its technical achievements.
  2. Mar 13, 2013
    Marnia, a fantasy as daunting as it is revelatory.
  3. Mar 19, 2013
    The way Marnie plays is fresh, but she does hold true to some central tenets of rock’n’roll in her fizzing songs: invincibility and defiance.
  4. Here she sounds more polished and pop-friendly than ever, largely thanks to some new additions and some smart subtractions.
  5. Apr 12, 2013
    Not so much a change of pace as a consolidation and careful re-allotment of her powers.
  6. 80
    On Marnie Stern’s fourth album, her guitar playing is as grand as her self-doubt, yet The Chronicles of Marnia is Stern’s most buoyant work.
  7. Mar 14, 2013
    It's loveable, thrilling and properly innovative.
  8. Mar 13, 2013
    Having slowed down five per cent, you could imagine The Chronicles of Marnia appealing to anyone who liked Sleater Kinney, or Battles, Dutch Uncles, or even Foals, without having the acquired taste for bands as squirky as Deerhoof or Ponytail.
  9. Mar 15, 2013
    On her fourth album, inventive and demented singer/songwriter/guitar hero Marnie Stern whips up a potent batch of quirky, invigorating and, at times, beautiful new material.
  10. Magnet
    Mar 15, 2013
    This is a record that fans of Juliana Hatfield, Lightning Bolt or King Crimson could fall in love without compromise. [No. 96, p.60]
  11. Mar 18, 2013
    At just over half an hour, it’s a short, sharp shock to the system which contains some of Stern’s best songs to date.
  12. 80
    Whether she’s playing loser or victor, the swathes of frenetic energy that buoy every note are always present.
  13. Apr 1, 2013
    Every weird twist and turn on The Chronicles of Marnia sounds like the work of a musician so effortlessly absorbed in her craft, so attuned to the expressive qualities of her music, that the internal logic of her songs is completely cohesive and idiosyncratic--and more importantly, really damn fun.
  14. Apr 11, 2013
    She sounds like she’s rediscovering the thrill of making music, and a nervy triumph pervades.
  15. Mar 19, 2013
    More than its predecessors, Marnia exists as a kind of safe place, a forum where Stern can confront her deepest anxieties and most crippling self-doubts and always come out on top.
  16. Mar 21, 2013
    Marnia isn't the single touch that shatters, it's the long, steady stare that gives way to embrace.
  17. Mar 21, 2013
    It feels a bit like a back-to-the-well move Stern is outgrowing, or has outgrown, so while it still scratches the guitar theatrics itch, the songs around those finger taps more often than not feel like they’ve outgrown that kind of easy attention.
  18. 75
    Fans of Marnie’s music are fully aware of what an album of hers going to bring, and on The Chronicles of Marnia, she brings it.
  19. Q Magazine
    Mar 13, 2013
    She plainly knows the meaning and benefit of brevity. [Apr 2013, p.110]
  20. Mar 25, 2013
    This New York singer-guitarist's records keep getting more nuanced and revealing, without losing a hint of the radiantly hyper finger-picking energy.
  21. Mar 18, 2013
    The Chronicles of Marnia is her most accessible effort to date.
  22. Mar 18, 2013
    There's something exhilarating in listening to her think out loud--the sureness of her songwriting battling the part of her brain that knows the song will never be enough.
  23. Mar 22, 2013
    The album musters such little excitement from its arsenal of dynamic guitar solos and yells of self-affirmation.
  24. Mar 19, 2013
    The Chronicles Of Marnia is chock full of these reminders of Stern’s instrumental dexterity and flawlessly meticulous execution, but without the intense theatrics, flair, and helter-skelter points of tension and release, it never quite transcends into the thrilling mess that is such a good vehicle for her talents.
  25. Mar 14, 2013
    These on-record musings never reveal the off-record Marnie, which is a shame, but the sprawling, chimerical Marnia brings you close enough to be captivating anyhow.
  26. Mar 13, 2013
    Fortunately, the contents don’t disappoint.
  27. Mar 21, 2013
    This is joyous, hurtling guitar glory--Stern's brilliant paean to survival.
  28. 75
    It’s a pretty relentlessly upbeat, pacey affair that could do with stripping things back (as it does a little, to great success, on ‘East Side Glory’) a tad more often--but not many.
  29. Uncut
    Mar 29, 2013
    Marnia tones down the more extreme histrionics that made earlier albums and acquired taste. [May 2013, p.78]
  30. Mar 19, 2013
    Few other genres give you the same sort of opportunity to be so detailed and nuanced while simultaneously making a grander point about the state of your world and what's to come. It's a balance Stern shoots for in all her albums, but it's especially pronounced on Marnia, which finds her broadening her sonic palette beyond the hyper-precise, finger-tapping riffs for which she's best known.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. May 19, 2013
    What this album does well is blend the vocals and guitars of Marnie Stern in a way that you are compelled to listen to the album over and overWhat this album does well is blend the vocals and guitars of Marnie Stern in a way that you are compelled to listen to the album over and over again. I actually feel that’s the best way to approach this album. The first track “Year Of The Glad” draws you in, but not as much as “For Ash” of her 2010 eponymous album.

    Throughout the album the guitar work is amazing, the vocals match this. Stand-out track vocally for me personally is on “Nothing Easy”. I really like the layered vocals lines, it give melodic dissonance somehow, it feels, deep down like it shouldn’t work, but it really does. The song is really enjoyable and it’s at this point where the album has already won you over, especially with “Noonan” preceding it. As for “Noonan”, the guitar work, whilst not all about the tapping and the soloing, stylistic it feels different, even though the production on this song, and on the majority of the album remains the same,

    A song I really like, and I think I’d say it’s my favourite is “Proof Of Life” just because dynamically is sounds so different. It’s more somber, it has piano in and a quiet guitar lick playing in conjunction. Being the penultimate track on the album it really eases you into “Hell Yes”, which is a song that just limps away, it left me disappointed, maybe that a good thing.

    Overall The Chronicles of Marnia is a strong album that sadly suffers from repetition that takes multiple listen to wade through, but when you get there, you really are in for something special.
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