Marina Allen

Eight Pointed Star (Fire Records)

Contact Jessica Linker, Yuri Kwon about Marina Allen

Marina Allen announces her third studio album, Eight Pointed Star, out June 7th via Fire Records, and releases the lead single/video, “Red Cloud.” Across two introductory records, the Los Angeles-based songwriter and musician has ripened a rare harvest, but her third studio album is an arrival home. Taking fragments and stories from Marina’s past, Eight Pointed Star welcomes an assembly of images, deftly weaving together a new future, in what feels for all the world like a glittering, clear-eyed modern classic of alternative folk and Americana. Her songs hold a dynamism that conjure distinctive worlds of their own. This album is about discovery, searching with the eight points of a compass; about hope, gazing at the emanations within the eight points of a North Star; and about ancestry, being comforted by the eight-pointed stitching patterns used in quilt-making.

Allen’s first single from the new record, “Red Cloud,” embodies the patchwork approach, written about her mother’s family in the Nebraskan prairies, named after the small town and birthplace of writer Willa Cather. Her voice ducks and dovetails, wavering to speech when she sings of being made coffee and burnt bread. The great plains she paints are barren and desolate, but fertile in her mind. It’s the place from where her sense of identity originates; here, she cherry-picks stories from dreamlike panoramas, crafting her own false histories, the truth caught somewhere in between. Trust is the centrifuge around which themes of love, family and folklore unfurl across the album. Dust is kicked-up from the red scarred earth and, with it, an inexplicable calm settles over these nine songs.

“The imagery surrounding Nebraska has always been really vivid for me. My mom would tell me about how my grandma would ride a pony to school named Daisy. I guess it brought an awareness of how much the world has changed in such a short time, but it also really tripped me out as a kid,” she says. “We’d be watching The Wizard of Oz and I felt like Dorothy was my heritage. So much of your family narrative defines who you are, and so much of it isn’t true, or you hear it wrong, or you only pick up this one part, passed down by somebody else who only picked up one part. I wanted to play with that. I had all of these images swirling around me, with me at the center, and none of the sources were reliable.”

In the “Red Cloud” video, directed by Eliel Ford (known for his work with Wes Anderson, Baby Keem and Travis Scott) and shot on 35mm film in Northern California, these centric themes unfurl as Allen’s rolling vocals rise and fall across open plains, beaches, and a cold winter forest – her voice pure and crystalline.


Compared to the soaring and swelling compositions of Allen’s second album Centrifics or the innocent tranquility of Candlepower, the world of Eight Pointed Star is more deeply addressing and open-armed. It favors a type of soul-searching that doesn’t dwell in complications, and is open to answers. You can hear contentment radiating from the music, with Chris Cohen’s  (Weyes Blood, Le Ren) production offering a full-band affair. The instrumentation is rich, bursting with brightness. In its most celestial moments, slide guitar drifts over acoustic thrums, and perfectly realized accounts of love and trust feel as true as the ground they’re walking on. With an affection for singers such as The Roches, Karen Dalton, Joanna Newsom and Meredith Monk, Allen’s voice stands up to the canon – inimitable, never sounding more resolute than it does here. With Eight Pointed Star,  we hear the light gushing through the trees; the present-day sun that glides over both the human joys and anxieties inextricably tied to here and now.

“As much as you can have will and ambition, those things often get in the way of a fluidity to life, and where you’re supposed to be. You can make yourself dizzy wanting to be somewhere you’re not,” comments Allen. “With Eight Pointed Star I’m trying to harness that beginner’s mind again, while having the scars and wisdom that come from biting into the fruits of knowledge.”



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