Album: The Ground Cries Out
Label: Riverland Records
With over 20 years of experience in the music business, many of those years highlighted as frontman for The Tea Party, one would assume that Jeff Martin understands what he wants when constructing an album. With his latest endeavour, a three-piece band entitled Jeff Martin 777, Martin and company conjure up (at most times successfully) a vivid and alluring musical landscape that permeates across the eleven song track list of The Ground Cries Out.
Some of the tracks, like “The Cobra” and “The Pyre”, seductively entwine the listener’s ear with a hypnotic, murky eeriness, while songs like “The Ground Cries Out” (First Single) and “1916” incorporate a boot stomping, heady grooviness that strikes the cochlea instantaneously.
If you know anything of Martin’s previous works, he has typically been quite fixated on lyrical inspiration from occult themes and Pagan influenced literature, but Jeff Martin 777 manages to keep it light on “Queen of Spades” and “Riverland Rambler”, and even finds the time to include two relatively short but nonetheless mesmerizing musical interlude pieces on tracks six and eight.
But as much as it is admirable to applaud the band’s incorporation of diverse sounds and thematic issues, it’s also very difficult to ignore the simple fact that some of the more easy going songs, especially “Riverland Rambler”, don’t seem to quite gel with the overall sound of the album. Yes, they are having fun with them, but the jovial light-heartedness the band is highlighting slightly undermines the overall effectiveness of the darker themes featured on the album. At times, the listener is pulled in many conflicting directions by the wide array of variety.
With this being said, it’s hard to fault the rejuvenated sounds emanating from Martin’s voice. He is definitely excited about this album, and his enthusiasm elevates The Ground Cries Out to a level he hasn’t ascended to since his time with The Tea Party. This is an album that truly grows on you with each additional listen.