An instrumental return for the underground piano pop princess
Charlotte Martin’s step back from live music had me fear that she may not release any more music in the future and whilst “Clear Blue Sky” is a piano instrumental album, her second of that nature in fact, it’s lovely to see she is still clearly connected to the same emotional place that she has been churning out gut-wrenching alt-pop-rock music for years.
“Clear Blue Sky” is a thoughtful piano instrumental album but not in the vein of a classical one, nor really a contemporary classical one. It’s ten tracks feel like instrumentals of artistic ballads for the most part. Alongside the title track’s whimsical start/start melody, “People We Could Have Been”, “7 O’Clock Moon”, “Talk To Me” and “Are We Ok” all feel like they underpin a Charlotte Martin vocal and have you sobbing like a train wreck. The fact they are still effective without her voice is a testament to her songcraft. Outside of these the longer pieces such as “Quiet Hours” and “Remaining” are much more careful with their melodies and waves of energy. The album is very reflective and these longer pieces verge of ambient sound at times because of the space given between notes. Throughout the album, the piano is drenched in reverb giving that space a church like echo throughout. It makes the album feel more peaceful and calming and since there is rarely a low note left rumbling for too long, the album itself feels quite pure and optimistic even when the notes tell a different tone. It’s that little secret that keeps each song unveiling little tells of a front face that serenades you with “I’m happy reaching out for this joyous mood” but with a tiny niggle that screams “but I’m not sure I feel comfortable either”. It’s subtle but really well played throughout many of the tracks.
As an instrumental album, “Clear Blue Sky” works as a dusk and dawn mood setter. It has some lovely melodic sections but to get the most out of it, you’ll need to pay attention to its secrets and that can be difficult with something so soothing at the same time! It also makes me yearn more for the whole CharMar experience and whilst I really do appreciate Charlotte Martin has a pianist and composer – the emotionally charged singer-songwriter will always triumph for me.
Recommended track: Remaining
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