Dom Martin has the sound and the skills and the look to become a real major artist and this release could be the one to catapult him to real headliner status. His music is straight from the heart, and he writes dense and dark songs that create an incredible miasma of foreboding. His guitar playing, whether on electric or acoustic, grabs the ear and draws you in so that there is nothing else in the room and when you couple that with his equally dark and deep voice it is impossible to look away.
Martin has had a hard life and his songs echo his experiences, but you get a sense that he knows that he is coming through the pain and emerging into the light so that the album is balanced between the dark and light (although even the light has a deeper tinge).
Opening with ‘Hello In There’, a delicious guitar reverie with lots of echo but tempered with children laughing and playing. I kind of felt that Dom is just setting us up for the heaviness to come, but it is a lovely way to set up. After that he offers up a heavy walking Blues, ‘Daylight I Will Find’, an instruction to fight and emerge through the layers of darkness that will hold you down. The themes are beginning to emerge. Every track is deserving of intense investigation, whether it’s the dark acoustic of ‘Government’ or the electric mayhem of ‘Belfast Blues’. Or the first single ‘Unhinged’ where he recorded the number on an underpowered amp that was, literally, going into meltdown, because it was the best way to represented the fakery and insanity of modern life.
The darkness and beautiful playing of ‘The Fall’ makes the track my personal favourite, a touch of John Martyn but also some mid-period Pink Floyd about it but all Dom Martin and it is a track where you immediately know its one of Dom’s. The only non-original is a cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’ but Willie never imagined a song so intense or as heartfelt as this version – chilling.
Dom Martin deserves to be ‘up there’ for his talent and his personality and this album is well up there with the best of the year’s releases, possibly in the top two or three. I found it impossible to put down once I had started to listen to it. Simply brilliant.