Having charmed us live at Notting Hill Arts Club a couple of years back, Berlin based Varley have now shared a courageous and vivid reveal – ‘Married With Bruises’ – taken from their 2021 album, Smalltalk and DMCs. With an impactful track title suggestive of Varley’s tender subject dive, the three-piece have found a divine formula for exposing poignant subject matter with compassion.
As a testament to Two Thousand Years, ‘Married With Bruises’ is a raw look into generational patterns of patriarchy and misogyny. As a highlight from Smalltalk and DMCs, it is an indie-pop venture that lyrically pays testament to its delicate narrative while musically encouraging liberation with a communal, orchestral disposition. Smooth, reverberated guitar cast a stormy spell for Irish front woman Claire-Ann’s voice to dance upon as her effortless vocal authority draws listeners into the world of Varley.
As vocal layers are intricately woven during the track’s chorus, ‘Married With Bruises’ shimmers as Claire-Ann’s frustration festers over the repeated mistreatments thrusted upon women, her “mother’s mother” and later, onto herself. The discomfort of being shoved around and controlled is felt by just listening to the honesty in her vocal delivery as it cuts through the lilting instrumentation for our undivided attention. Of the meaning behind the track, Claire-Ann expands:
“It weighs heavy on me sometimes when I see that I am being treated differently to my band mates. Is it because they have willies and I don’t? Or do I allow myself to be spoken to in a way that they would never accept? The one thing I am so grateful for is that my band mates see it too and they always have my back when they see it happening. I never really confront it but you can be sure I’m gonna write a song about it and that’s why ‘Married with Bruises’ is so special to me. It was my place to vent when I felt I was being treated differently or unfairly or being spoken to in a creepy way just because I am a woman.”
Cinematic bass expands the universe of ‘Married With Bruises’ as the track’s bridge becomes a cathartic outro, ultimately spiralling into a thunderous soundscape filled with haunting nuances reminiscent of Angel Olson. Captured with such grace and vulnerability, it offers a captivating insight that is both singer-songwriter genuine and art-pop captivating.
Watch the stirring new video for ‘Married With Bruises’ here:
Smalltalk and DMCS, the latest album from Varley, is out now.