Marlaena Moore is an enigmatic performer with an incredible presence and soaring voice. Her songs cross personal bedroom confessionals with grunge influenced guitar tones in a tight pop-song package.
Superstitious people pay attention to signs. Maybe it’s easier to leave one’s fate up to an omnipresent being, even if it’s a little risky. But sometimes, there are signs so pure, so true, that one cannot help but heed their call. It’s too coincidental not to. So, on a walk one day, in a familiar place, in a familiar way, a sign found its way to Marlaena Moore.
Moore walked past a familiar church that she lives nearby in Edmonton, AB. It was one she saw often, seeing it but not really looking at it, until, one day, when a billboard for the church had the phrase “Pay Attention! Be Amazed!” Here, Moore had her very literal sign. “To me, this phrase just means looking out for different perspectives and trying to see what's right in front of you, just slightly differently, and then seeing if your perspective changes,” Moore says.
On her third record, Pay Attention! Be Amazed!, to be released this spring, the 26 year-old musician does indeed shift her perspective in different ways. With the help of Chris Dadge and Chad VanGaalen on production and a crew of musical artists Moore calls “unbelievable human beings with ungodly talent,” Moore’s newest full-length record fills out and strengthens the sound she has been building for years, while simultaneously gesturing at where her work can grow.
Pay Attention! Be Amazed! has familiar themes that appear in Moore’s earlier work. Moore says her first two records displayed a specific sense of yearning. “Everything I was writing was really about the yearning and desire for finding love,” she says. ”I feel like the thing that weaves everything together on this latest record is what happens when you are there. You have found this relationship and it's like it's the reality of the fantasy of the relationship that you've always wanted.” But, in the end, it’s a relationship doomed.
“All Alone (Full of Love)” sounds like a swinging, morose track fit for the jukebox on a lonely, dreary evening. It has the contours of a pop song. “Xmas Oranges,” a devastating but sparkling jewel on this record, traces the motions of being a relationship souring, as Moore sings revelations so plainly over a steady, anxious and tight guitar strum. On “Imposter,” Moore solemnly proclaims she’s a stranger to her heart.
Working on what would become Pay Attention! Be Amazed! Moore found how much more she needed a collaborative environment to work in. The songs took the shape they did, sounding so rich and morose and triumphant all at once precisely because of the crew assembled to amplify them to their fullest.