The willfully mysterious Marvin & Guy have always had an ineffable flair that set them apart from the pack. A half decade ago, the Italian duo hit the scene running with the Let's Get Lost Vol. 14 two-tracker on Mule Musiq subsidiary Let's Get Lost—and even in an era awash with disco edits, the EP’s two tracks, especially the pair’s hypnotic version of Minako Yoshida’s “Town,” hit hard. Releases on On the Prowl, their own eponymous label, Young Adults and Hivern Discs followed, with Marvin & Guy’s music slowly evolving from simple (though excellent) edits to full-on productions, and from highly functional club material to something more sophisticated and, at times, downright epic. Now, the team has taken it a step further with the Music for Race EP on Correspondant, a release that buffs the Marvin & Guy sound to a chrome-like finish.
“Targa (Long Drive),” as the name implies, is a cruising-in-your-car number—the propulsive rhythm, staccato synths runs, far-away vocal bits and dignified melody combine to give the tune a filmic, wistfully triumphant aura, like looking in the rear-view mirror as the past recedes and new adventures near. (Apparently the EP was inspired by countryside drives, and that influence is clearly evident.) The song’s perhaps a bit overcooked—it’s almost baroque in feel—but its epic appeal is hard to deny.
Marvin & Guy themselves have described the release’s flip, “Stratos,” as “krauty,” and it certainly does share its motorik-tinged rhythmic template with classic krautrock (as does the EP’s A-side). But the track is perhaps more South Florida ’80s (as in Miami Vice) than Cologne ’70s. A steady kick sets the pace; shimmering guitar chords, with just enough distortion to add gritty texture, sets the noirish mood; and when those percolating synths kick in, you’re on a late-night spin through the city’s thoroughfares, dimly lit with moonlight and neon. Digital bonus "Countach," presumably named for the classic Lamborghini, is—as you might expect—a V12-engine version of of the sound, complete with the streamlined stylistic flourishes that Italian manufacturers (of both autos and music) seem to excel at. All three numbers come off as more fleshed-out, more overtly cinematic variations on the duo’s 2015 arpeggiated-synth winner “Egoísta”—and, as it happens, they are among Marvin & Guy’s best tunes yet.