Come Under Records (label)
23 March 2018 (released)
31 March 2018
Christina Martin describes "dark moments" during the making of Impossible To Hold, and there is certainly more shade than light throughout. In fact, early single Lungs Are Burning was a misleading preview. A foot to the peddle singalong, in traditional FM rock style, it hides a darker message behind the shiny tune. The song focuses on the Fentanyl crisis in Canada, where the toxic substance has been found in street drugs. The number of deaths caused by this are still unknown and investigations continue.
Whilst the references there are subtle, they are more obvious on Where The Dark Meets The Light, which is about the sacrifices often made when pursuing the musical dream. These two tracks are set apart from the rest though, with their shimmering guitars and radio friendly choruses. Much here is less inviting on first listen, with Martin's vulnerable vocal singing of 'losses and gains' and hidden 'secrets' over the opening title track's moody strumming, while Deep Dark Red and Keep Me Calm are equally stripped back.
On her previous album It'll be Alright there were soaring guitars and bullet proof choruses that were made for larger arenas, but here the wounds of life seem to have cut hard and Impossible To Hold feels laced with pain. Further listening rewards though, with those deeper and harder moments eventually breaking through on the delicate Winter. Just sometimes you want the shackles to be released. Noise And Toys' pleading for "someone to let go" is typical of the album's darker side. A bit more light amid that shade would perhaps have been welcome.