A Review of Half-Life by Marla Mase

By Kevin Tshiamala

It took me a while to understand Marla Mase. Her last album, Speak, did just the opposite. In her new EP, Half-Life, she seems to have corrected all that went wrong with her previous attempt. Maybe the improvement from her last EP to this should be attributed to her being backed by the great Tomas Doncker band. Maybe it doesn’t matter for Half-Life wonderfully expresses the very sensibilities of Marla Mase; the sensibilities that make us human, in which we have no choice, but to relate.

The album starts off upbeat with “Drown in Blue” and continues in the same fashion throughout. If you’re unfamiliar with Marla Mase, most of her songs are compiled through a mixture of spoken word poetry, singing with insightful, deep, calculated, and at times Meta lyrics. Her lyrics and mission are in part what made her a perfect fit for True Groove Records and their Global Soul movement.

As you traverse through Half-Life you hit funky jams such as “Things That Scare Me” with Mark Henry’s driving saxophone, jazzy rhythms on “Hold Fast Your Dreams,” groovy classic rock guitar with good choral work on “Gaping Hole,” and great instrumentation lead by the drums of Mike Faulkner on “The Heart Beats.”

Not to mention, the short track listing, which allows for this album to work as well as it does.

But at times, the very thing that is meant to drive the album and captivate the audience is the very thing that produces an opposite reaction. Marla’s spoken word poetry, spiritual expression, self expression, global movement and bear it all lyrics sometimes come off too calculated, disingenuous, like a broken record. We all know we should do more to be better, but at times we would rather forget.

But as Marla stated, “I am a pratical woman who believes in magic, who insists on it, not just in the nighttime, but all the time and not just with you, but in everything I do.” Since we cannot all feel and believe like Marla, I’m glad we will have access to her piece of magic through Half-Life whenever we want it, not just in the nighttime, but all the time.

Half-Life is available for purchase on iTunes.

For more information please visit Marla Mase’s official website:

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