Charlotte Martin rounds off 2008 with a release of old offcuts from the cutting floor. Songs that didn’t make her previous records have clubbed together to form “Orphans”, an 8 track EP showcasing that even cast aways from great artists shouldn’t be ignored.
Opening with “Is This Called Desire”, a song that despite being relatively relaxed always has an undercurrent of fight and flight about it, its clear that these aren’t just quick rehashes. The song also reminds me very much of Bjork’s Vespertine which is certainly no bad thing. “Galaxies” is certainly no throw away and quickly establishes as a favourite and a song that manages to completely encompass Charlotte’s musical styles in one song. We love the latest electronics but we also love piano and electronics together! “Habit” recoils back to just piano and vocal in a heartfelt and spacious song where taking her time to express each line, every note is worth so much more – it’s almost like a live performance. Beautiful.
“Outerspace” is funky! The keyboards sound like the theremin used in b-movies about aliens. It’s fast paced, full of percussion, has an uplifting chorus and is one of those songs you can lose yourself in. Juxtaposed with the purity of “Snowflakes”, the two songs really shine off each other. The latter song has a gorgeous flowing piano hook.
The final trio are interesting inclusions. “The Stalker Song” finally gives a full release of the “I’m Normal Please date Me” lyrics which is on a lot of Charlotte’s merchandise. The song has a humour and tongue in cheek arrangement which suits it so well. We then have “Raven” which is an old master of the song that found itself on “Test Drive Songs”. Cutting out the piano intro, electronic ending and including guitar and minimal percussion, it’s funny to hear the original after these years. It has a slightly different vibe to it, still just as sinister, but different. Finally rounding of the Test Drive era is a “Many Rivers (2005)” which takes away all the trimmings and has just Charlotte and the piano which is a nice way to end.
This is the second helping of b-sides from Charlotte Martin and once again we’re left wondering why these weren’t out long ago! However once you’ve finished listening you’re just glad you’ve heard them now and they’ll quickly become just as treasured as the rest of her collection.