Winning our album of the year in 2011 with the devastatingly awesome “Dancing on Needles”, Charlotte Martin returns with “Hidden Places”, an EP/Live Concert hybrid that’s sure to excite fans.
The live concert is superb and although it only clocks in at just over an hour, showcases a lot of songs from last years album and a few others in piano/vocal fashion. Each song translates effortlessly across and sounds fresh and new. In particular Animal, Dancing on Needles, Truth Cerium and The Dance show such raw emotion, power and range you are frequently blown away. What is apparent however is that the concert is filmed from two static cameras and while there’s good production values to try to keep things from looking very static, the camera work doesn’t quite do the concert justice. Interspersing the songs are little clips of Martin chatting away about her music, her ordeals and her inspirations which is great to see.
The CD accompanying the concert has eight tracks. Three of which are acoustic versions of previously released tracks. “The Dance” and “Stromata” are massively powerful and sound brand new. “Animal” actually feels more fragile when stripped back and feels newer and sadder than before – something I didn’t feel would be possible! Of the new tracks “Mission Control” feels like a natural progression from her more recent work, once again veering towards the more electronic edges of her world with catchy choruses and sweeping electronic workings. “Tough” is delicately beautiful and feels like a lost song from aeons back as does “The Last Song” are they both feature some beautiful piano work and have that whimsical reflective sway to them. “In a World” features some big tom drums to up the ante which pound out hard towards the end of the song which feels like Charlotte Martin’s ode to Lion King in some ways. “Warrior” closes the EP in typically disarming fashion with some light pads and strings supporting a fragile song in which the vocals absolutely win you over from start to finish.
As always with Charlotte Martin, you know you are getting something special. While the bonus tracks are great to have and should find their home in any fans collection, the concert shows a truly magical live performer in her element, that even a budget recording cannot blemish it.