This review was first
published on CLUAS in 2002
Other albums reviewed in 2002
A review of his album 'Let It Ring'
Boston based Martin Finke deals solely in what Michael Stipe calls vomit-songs. These aren't songs that will make you physically ill but rather songs that spew effortlessly from the gut needing little in terms of gloss and sonic gentrification. Each conception is quickly captured on record from his home studio in the height of purity and sent out, hooks slung, into the harsh world.
Finke's strengths, as displayed on his latest album 'Let It Ring', lie in his bashful and uncomplicated nature. This is most in evidence on both 'Jetplane' and 'Saint Bed', two simple and unobtrusive pieces set to a down-tempo beat which are given a more than adequate introduction from 'Esprit de Dawn' - a gentle instrumental that becomes gradually more harrowing as it transpires.
It's not all easy listening, however -' A New Heart Open' is an odd one, arranged into seemingly hesitant couplets, sounding like it was off the cuff before reaching a triumphant climax with the declaration, "This loving thing we've got / your arms are like a raincoat." This is exactly what's needed for the elemental 'Weather', with its backdrop of driving rain. The opener, 'How Late It's Grown' and ender 'Raincloud' will provide the magnet for most despite being very different in approach - the prior being a two minute, more instant offering and the latter being an epic, enhanced by the enchanting vocals of Lara Norris. The rest of the album must feel very comfortable being sandwiched between these two.
'Let It Ring' is not there to reach out and grab you by the scruff, demanding your attention but instead there is comfort in the knowledge that, like a good friend, it will always be there open-armed, honest and true whenever you're in need.
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