Sunday, December 10, 2006

Charlotte Martin--On Your Shore (2004)

Artist-Charlotte Martin
Album-On Your Shore
Release Date-Aug 10, 2004
Genre/Style-Adult Alternative Pop/ Rock

Review-Charlotte Martin spent a good part of her teenage years obsessively studying the work of Kate Bush. She's more than a fan; she's a devout follower of Bush's mystical songbook of art and romance, from which she gained enough confidence to find her own voice and style. Now in her late twenties, Martin bows to her idol while composing a theatrical and fearless presentation on her RCA full-length debut, On Your Shore. Failure's Ken Andrews produces the dozen-track set. His meticulous approach allows Martin to fully let go emotionally as a singer while On Your Shore's journey of self-discovery and self-analysis is torn asunder. Adding to the masque are drummer Joey Waronker, arranger Craig Armstrong, and bassist Justin Meldel-Johnsen. Having these particular musicians involved in the session carries Martin's passionate delivery beyond her alliance with her piano. It's on the bigger numbers that she truly shines as a performer; from the Cure-tinged string arrangements of "Haunted" to the purling buildup of "Madman," Martin broadsides any kind of spite or scorn that's crossed her path. Not only is there a fight for honesty and bravery; such a challenge equals strength. The copper-toned chills of the album's title track and the sword dance of "Limits of Our Love" make that promise, too. Echoes of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," "Sat in Your Lap," and "Experiment IV" slightly reverberate throughout, but only in flattery. On Your Shore breathes with a similar kind of energy that's in those particular songs, highlighting the notion that grasping for something that you believe in and doing it with every fiber of your being, regardless of the outcome, is worth it. Every hush, hum, and ooh is perfectly matched to each pounding tremor of Martin's piano. That in itself supports the surefire dynamic that is On Your Shore. Martin wanted to make an album that matters as much as any Kate Bush record meant to her. She couldn't have gotten it any better. As Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan get older, there's room for others to step in. Welcome, Charlotte Martin, welcome.


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