Sunday, 12 February 2017

MARTYN CROCKER – ALBUM REVIEW

Martyn Crocker – Favourtism 
Martyn Crocker - Favourtism


Release Date: 24th February 2017

I’ve been aware of Mr Martyn Crocker for quite a while now, in the periphery of my awareness like one of those floaters you get in your eye that you can’t quite focus in on. Nevertheless, like a persistent eye disease, Crocker has forced his existence (and music) in to full view and after some scratching and swearing I’m incredibly pleased to have him in focus. This new album opens with the feisty ‘Abacus’ which is driven by a passionately strummed acoustic guitar and a sense of pent up energy, frustration and genuine need to say something which is always a good place to start. Instantly, the precision of Crocker’s vocal style is apparent, coming across like a slightly more melodic Jake Morley (huge praise round these parts as Morley won two LWM awards in 2016). ‘Out Of The Dark’ is up next and the acoustic energy continues with a West Coast American vibe in the polished indie-rock that could easily be accompanying a moody video on MTV sometime soon.

We might be talking about a solo artist here but there’s a full band backing him and that comes in to full force on ‘Wishful Thinking’ as the guitars become more electric, the bass grumbles menacingly and the drums beat on relentlessly with military force. Crocker has a dark side we now discover but this is still presented with superbly crafted melodies and well placed power. ‘The Places That We’re From’ is a perfectly poised tale of small town frustration with hints of Del Amitri and Rooney mixing folk, indie and pop as we hear a story that will be familiar to millions the world over – surely a hit in waiting. On ‘Hope’ things are stripped back to just Martyn and his acoustic and while the song is still well crafted it lacks the edge of some of the others here and feels more like a B-side than anything else.

Martyn Crocker - in a hat
Things get back on track with ‘If Only He Knew’ with some furious and creative percussion below a flamenco inspired acoustic riff and Biffy Clyro-esque chanting harmonies. In terms of arrangement, ‘If Only He Knew’ is the most interesting and progressive track on the album as different melodies and instruments all vie for space without sounding cluttered or directionless. There’s a gritty edge to the indie-rock of ‘Stick Around For Good’ as Crocker’s voice delivers the lyrics in his inimitable smooth but impassioned vocal style that is surely destined for bigger audiences. The eight track album closes on ‘Hold Your Hand’ which is the first tune that gives away our hero’s Westcountry roots with the folky acoustic picking sounding like a Crazy Arm tune lifted from an old Cornish sea shanty but with melody that would easily grace more mainstream airwaves. Martyn Crocker currently resides in Plymouth, a city renowned for looking out towards the rest of the world and sending explorers to the four corners – this music deserves to be heard the world over as well so maybe it’s a fitting place to start.


Live Dates:

21st February – The Hub, Plymouth w/The Sherlocks
25th February – The B-Bar, Plymouth
4th March – Unit 23 LIVE, Totnes
11th March – The Wharf, Tavistock w/Nova Grey

18th March – Studio Bar, Penzance

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