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Laura J Martin - The Hangman Tree

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 9 / 12 / 2011

Laura J Martin - The Hangman Tree
Label: Static Caravan
Format: CD


Eccentric but addictive folk pop on debut album from young flautist and multi-instrumentalist, Laura J. Martin

Laura J. Martin uses odd, old-fashioned instruments and digital trickery to produce a sound that is part folk, part pure-pop. There are other people doing this kind of thing (including her labelmate Hannah Peel), but ‘The Hangman Tree’ still feels fresh. Martin’s main instrument is the flute, but she also plays mandolin and xylophone, as well as occasionally falling back on a guitar and keyboard. On stage, she plays with a loop machine. Though the studio allows a bit more freedom, she has kept all her songs tightly focused around electronic drum-beats Her lyrics contain a similar twist of the old and new. She’s clearly fascinated by old folklore, and for the most part consciously sings in the language of centuries past. Occasionally, however, she betrays her youth by slipping into 21st century teen-speak. The standout track is probably the lilting lullaby ‘Sleepwalker’, though recent single ‘Spy’ runs it close, as her flute is synched into the drum beat and you get a hint of Martin’s interest in Japanese music. Cameos from Canadian MC Buck 65 and Welsh folkie Euros Childs are both welcome additions, though 16 short songs over 45 minutes feels just about right. The technical skill is admirable, but it’s the wide-eyed simplicity of her tunes that will make you want to give ‘The Hangman Tree’ repeat listens.

Track Listing:-
1 The Hangman Tree
2 Fire Horse
3 The Lesson
4 Jesse
5 Silent Maria
6 Salamander
7 Elsie
8 Tom
9 Leonine
10 Spy
11 Kissbye Goodnight
12 Black Caravan
13 Sleepwalker
14 Mr. Lam
15 What If King
16 Only The Waiting

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