Laura J Martin at Rough Trade East
Walking onstage to a small but enthusiastic crowd, Liverpudlian Laura J Martin is almost the opposite of the cocksure pop star. Which is why, when she gives a short introduction, and then immediately launches into a virtuoso flute solo, one could be forgiven for being a bit taken aback.
Promoting her third album On The Never Never, Martin proves that by now she has earned her stripes as she and her backing band begin with a thumping indie folk-soaked number that includes a double bass, jaunty keys and thudding bass drum that denotes a group of experience. Her brand of pop is immediately intriguing. She often mixes the banal with the fantastical, with lines like “I bleach my toilet twice a day” over melodies that could have accompanied a 70s science fiction show, or a low-budget fantasy film. But the music is impossible not to bop along to; it’s easy to get lost in the sound in a way that many other artists can only dream of.
Besides the accomplished songs, Martin and the band deserve props for the complexity of their instrumentation. Martin slides effortlessly from her flute to falsetto singing, to keyboard trills whilst keeping an eye on the multiple loops she has running throughout. This is seen no more than in the performance of lead single Do It, which also incorporates a guitar, and the fullness of the sound rings from every inch of the stage.
Yet whilst her vocals are impressive, Laura J. Martin sounds a lot like someone else in places: Kate Bush. With closed eyes, one could even be listening to a bootleg from the late 70s, newly uncovered and now being performed live. There’s nothing wrong with sounding like Kate Bush per se, but it makes derivative a sound that, in isolation, is both striking and compelling.
Her talent is obvious, but one can’t help but think that there is still more work to do to stand out from the crowd. The songs and performance are stellar, and the crowd seem to agree. Forging forward with this album, there is no doubt that Laura J Martin could be big. She may well have a long career ahead of her if the kinks can be ironed out.
Photo: Rob Orchard
For further information about Laura J Martin and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Do It here: