Artist: Mara
Title: If You Only Knew
Label: Choo Choo Records
By: Chad Harnish | 30 September 2003
  1. If You Only Knew
  2. Turning It On
  3. Desanitize
  4. Snoodle
  5. Satisfy Me
  6. 1974
  7. Coming Down
  8. One (144)
  9. Shake That Thing
  10. Computer Beats
  11. Heretic
  12. Peace

Mara "If You Only Knew"Mara "If You Only Knew"

Out Now on Choo Choo Records

Spending the last year working on new material, Barry and Sara have completed their debut artist album titled “If You Only Knew.” As a true extension of their unique sound, this LP encompasses a wide range of styles from down-tempo beats to full on breaks. “If You Only Knew” is set to release on September 29th on Choo Choo Records and includes collaborations with Tigerhooks’s Randall Jones and Human League guitarist Russ Dennett.

Mara’s singles which have already made their rounds, some of which are included on this LP, have received massive support from the likes of Sasha, John Digweed, Anthony Pappa and Rennie Pilgrem. This broad support is signative of their unique cross genre sounds. Some of the tracks on here have been released, and luckily, for those that are brand new to us, this lp is also available on vinyl.

Starting off with the title track ”If You Only Knew,” Barry and Sara ease us into a smooth down tempo breaks groover. The bass line is sick and the funk tempered by Sara’s signature vocal tracks rates with the best of them. This track is stunning. Easing out as easy as it went in, Mara segues to the huge house hit, “Turning It On.” This is a very recent tune for the duo, and has recently seen a release as two separate singles. It was also a very fresh evolved direction for Sara and Barry and has been a favorite of mine for some time.

Now if you remember “Desanitize” which released on Acetate Ltd, you will already know what kinda breaks Mara are capable of. But if the last you remember of them is “One” or “Fall From Grace” you will be shocked at the veracity of this track. It got Rennie’s attention after all. “Snoodle” is next and is also a newly introduced track. Mara drops it way down to Orb styled levels. Lush dubby tripped out rhythms saturate your soul, keeping it low. Picking the pace back up to housey levels, Mara tweak the talents of Sara’s voice once again with “Satisfy Me”. This is songier than anything Sara has done in the past, and I was almost not having it. That was, not until the breaks kicked in. They busted through the house cover and brought with them a whole lot of wicked effects. This track sounds great loud and would be a great tool to have in your bin.

This album just gets better as “1974” pumps its way into the fluid composition of “If You Only Knew.” It is trancy and funky. It is dubby and edgy. It has a fresh set of vocal samples of a spoken-word performance from Tigerhook's Randall Jones. I am telling you, this is one hot track. Maybe my favorite off the LP. “Coming Down” mixes in extremely well from “1974.” It was originally released some time ago, but being mixed into this LP paints it as fresh as any other track on here. “One” is probably Mara’s most famous track, at least it is to me. Sara really shines on “One” and with this 144 remix, it is available in a storming new form.

If you weren’t already shaking your thing, “Shake That Thing” will get you going. Mara once again prove that they can hold their own in the funky eclectic breaks infused genre. Complete with live congas, it is fierce on the beats. This is a second contender for my favorite track of this LP. Continuing with the ferocity, Mara launch into “Computer Beats” which is another of their widely successful singles previously released as part of the “Stripped Beats EP.” Wildly hypnotic, this single is hailed as “the toughest 4/4 track on the album and a nod to (Mara’s) tribal house fans.”

Finishing off Mara’s debut LP, “Heretic” destroys, “Peace” soothes and finally, as a hidden surprise, Mara have included and acoustic version on “One.”, with Sara's emotional filled vocals having an added sense of rawness to bring the album to a dramatic end. Enjoy that one.

“If You Only Knew” is definitely a masterpiece LP by a legendary duo. Do not pass it up. Choo Choo have continued to evolve over the years and with the release of this great LP they will push the latest boundaries. Watch out for the blazing 1974 as it is set to be their next single release.

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