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Happy Martyr - One Square Mile

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 27 / 2 / 2012



Happy Martyr - One Square Mile
Label: Floating World Records
Format: CD

intro

Enjoyable but somewhat monotonous debut album of Happy Martyr, the new project of Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer and rapper and lyricist Alex Lusty


Among us Morrissey fans, Happy Martyr are known as Boz Boorer’s other band. This is, I’ve come to realise, more than a little unfair. 'One Square Mile' is the first release from Happy Martyr, a collaboration between the aforementioned Boz Boorer and rapper and lyricist Alex Lusty. Described as “urban folk,” the pair’s music is somewhere between Billy Bragg and Mike Skinner, with Boorer’s acoustic power-strumming perfectly punctuating Lusty’s strident lyrical delivery. The album opens with the punchy 'Kiss Me Like You Stole It', an acoustic proto-punk rap with a snarling delivery from Lusty. It’s a real earworm, with Boorer’s melody perfectly accentuating a lyric that is by turns tender and vicious. Musically second track 'Rusty Nails' sounds like a demo by The Jam, and the crucifixion-themed lyric is particularly powerful, all rusty nails, cold rain and drowning horses. The album continues in a similar vein, and, if I had any complaint, I suppose it would be that the minimalist nature of the production leads to a collection of songs which, upon extended listening, tend to merge into one amorphous sonic collage of strumming and rapping. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the album, I did, but I think that I would have enjoyed it a great deal more if there had been more variation between the songs, for example, such as on the Streets’ 'A Grand Don’t Come For Free'. For me, the highlight of the album is 'It Never Rains But It Pours'. It’s a slower track than the others on the album, and the everyman lyric is an 'Up the Junction' for the post-London Riot generation. Again, the similarities between Mike Skinner is striking, both thematically and musically, but, for me at any rate, this is no bad thing. I enjoyed this album, and while I wasn’t blown away by it, there is little to fault. Musically it is well written and performed, and Lusty’s lyrics have a tragi-comic value which I particularly liked. I had very high hopes for this album, but, for me, 'One Square Mile' is good rather than great. Top marks, however, go to Alex Lusty for the line, “If you’re asleep it means you’re not leaving.”



Track Listing:-
1 Kiss Me Like You Stole It
2 Rusty Nails
3 Now I Know
4 This Small Town
5 You Know Where I live
6 Painkillers
7 Sailing Close to the Wind
8 It Never Rains, It Pours
9 Parachute
10 Sleep Tight
11 Tears Before Breakfast
12 You Bore Me
13 Old Skool


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/happy.martyr/
https://twitter.com/happymartyr


Label Links:-
http://www.floatingworldrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/floating.worldrecords
https://twitter.com/floatingwrecord



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