This music is the culmination of an eight-year journey for ex-Human Switchboard member Myrna Marcarian. With the help of some great musicians, these ten original songs appear in their final versions on "This World of Days." Appearances by Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu), Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic), Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges, Uncle Tupelo, Lisa Loeb), Ron Metz (The Schramms, Human Switchboard), Andy McKee, Mike Levine, Doug Hall, Rebecca Harris, Frank Vilardi, George Usher, and Geoff Feinberg make this collaboration truly a 'ruby on the vine' worth pickin!
"...Marcarian was a founding member of the critically acclaimed band, Human Switchboard, who performed one of their first gigs ever in Rochester back in the late 80's, opening for local heroes, New Math, and building a legion of fans in the area. An impressive offering, Ruby On The Vine features Myrna's distinctive vocals at the helm, with traces of Marianne Faithful, Patti Smith and Maria McKee heard in her style. The album is loaded with catchy tracks that feature a range of genres, from Americana-roots to 50's girl-group to 80's New Wave. Irresistible gems like "Get Around Your Wishing Well," "Unlisted Number" and "Somebody Else Will Do" are pure gold and will swirl in your brain for days! Give this very original work a listen and see CDBaby.com to get a copy..."
"Myrna Marcarian rules the humanist motherboard of Ruby on the Vine, named after an Omar Khayyam elegy but also suggestive of the darkly faceted sheen of Marcarian's vocals. Though she plays keyboards less often than she plays her new signature instrument, acoustic guitar... Ruby on the Vine's intriguing folkpop songs, most written by Marcarian, some with electric guitarist Geoff Feinberg, project a worldview as desire-driven as Human Switchboard's, yet with more accommodation at the end of the stark hallway: Love exists, fidelity too, but you have to work at them-thus, the erotic fiats of "You Belong to Me" and "Don't Be So Sure." The album rolls from homespun ballads like "Gather Round Your Wishing Wall" to the startling (in this context) garage rock of "Little Demon" and "Why You Wanna Make Me Mad," the latter two with riffs that tunnel right through the hangar wall. We already knew she could walk alone, and now she's sounding real sharp again. So maybe next time out, Ms. Marcarian will lyrically address the existential conundrum that continues to bedevil the creative class: Should I have gone to law school?!?
The Village Voice
December 8, 2003
Twenty years ago, Myrna Marcarian was parked behind a Farfisa organ, providing feminist counterpoint to Bob Pfeifer's dark and smokey urgency in the Cleveland-turned-Hoboken garage band Human Switchboard. They were one of the many great bands from America's post-punk New Wave beloved by the press but virtually unknown to the public, save for a small, rabid fan base. Human Switchboard's sole full-length release, Who's Landing In My Hangar, has been out of print for 20 years, but the band's name still rolls off the tongue of long-lived rock critics who can't forget the band's zesty intelligence, volatile sexual chemistry, and great songs. Unable to find another record deal after the release of Hangar, frontman Bob Pfeifer went on to a career in the record industry, both in A&R and as president of Hollywood Records for a time; he now owns his own management firm. Marcarian hung around Hoboken but has been unheard since the release of a little-heard 1989 solo EP, "Human Touch." Now she's back, fronting the New York City-based folk/pop combo Ruby On The Vine. Partnered with former Switchboard drummer Ron Metz and guitarist/co-songwriter Geoff Feinberg, The World Of Days is a remarkable comeback, a fresh and vibrant collection of songs that sounds as if Marcarian hasn't missed a beat despite a 14 year layoff. Switchboard's best songs were often driven by the combustible on again/off again romantic relationship between Pfeifer and Marcarian; now, Marcarian's the older but wiser woman, still sultry and sexual, but less concerned over issues of fidelity than she is with just getting it on. Purring and wailing like the mature Patti Smith, Marcarian's voice sounds terrific, from slinky sex-kitten torch songs to passionate ballads to driving, garagey (and yes, Switchboard-like) tracks like "Little Demon" and "Why You Wanna Make Me Mad." The band's been keeping a low-profile thus far but here's hoping 2004 sees Ruby On The Vine bring some of that old Human Switchboard magic back to a NYC club scene that's starved for a band with this much substance and passion.
- Jim Testa