The opening few moments of this second album from Martin Lucassen have a very pure and invigorating sound about them. Falling To The Ground, it seems, was a great way to begin the project.
The music has such a fresh and pleasant energy to it. The melodic style and the leading vocal delivering it have the instant familiar sound of the artist whose first album came to our attention exactly one year ago. Martin Lucassen’s take on indie rock-meets-singer-songwriter has something special about it, perhaps it’s this meeting of the soft and the hard, the folk and the rock, the electric and the acoustic. Or perhaps it’s the artist’s unique and energising songwriting. Nobody Talks About It is beautiful. This much is clear by track two, Believed, and the feeling only continues to grow.
The artist’s sense of storytelling is a huge part of what grabs you with these songs. This, combined with the vocal delivery, and the vibrant, country-folk-like energy of much of the music, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening of listening. There are moments when the sound draws comparisons, but they are so brief, and so varied. The Beatles come to mind on occasion, something that also stood out about the artist’s last album The Night Turns To Morning Light, perhaps it’s the vocal style and the lyricism. The Stones even make a momentary appearance, but really it’s just the utter strength of the songs and the recordings that makes you wonder why more people haven’t heard this music yet. Here’s hoping they do soon.
I Want You To Stay offers a minimalist acoustic beauty, a vulnerability and an honesty that melts the heart. Hawkesbury Radio takes a cultural turn to somewhere slightly gypsy-folk-like; the organic instrumentation is a joy to listen to. Beautiful Thing follows on from this well, the crisp sound of the acoustic guitar returning for another very pure and untampered with portrayal of melody and feeling. The track soon progresses into something slightly more upbeat, a relevant evolution. And soon enough A Dark Rainy Sunday storms onto the stage with an urgency and strike to it that’s impossible to ignore. The guitar sound, the intensity of the bass-line, the shortness of the lyrical lines, the vocal harmonies in the backdrop – everything about this track has been consciously crafted and the result is something very unique and powerful.
Martin Lucassen’s lyrics are the sort that seem very easy to understand at first, but the more you listen, the more you realise there’s a lot there that is remarkably distinctive. A Dark Rainy Sunday is a great example. The perspective is so unusual, the ideas are presented in such an artistic way, and yet at first it comes across as simply great pop music – the true genius of it all only ever slowly revealed as you allow yourself to really listen. The same can be said of Magic Home, a personal highlight from the collection. Stunning riffs and melodies, mesmerising instrumentation, hypnotic and easy to listen to again and again for the atmosphere and the energy of it. A brilliant song and so well performed and recorded.
Optimistic has an indie rock feel to it, again with a little of that country twang, and a rather haunting pop-undertone in the quickness of the piano sound. Another hypnotic set of lyrics, it’s impossible not to hang on every word as they are sung. Forget Time has a welcome happiness about that fits well at this point in the album. Welcome To My World takes the power of the indie rock riff once again and yet presents it alongside a very gentle melody line and a genuinely open and honest portrayal of love and the uniqueness of it for all who fall.
Then things come to an end in perhaps the most appropriate way with a track entitled New Years Eve. A final reminder of the reflective and characterful nature of the artist’s songwriting – Another year of joy and grief. A great way to finish, and a great moment to head back and listen all over again. There are some real moments of bliss within this project, some real gems that deserve to be heard by all. Well worth a listen.