Acoustic singer/songwriter Martha Bean hails from Leicester in the UK and made her new EP ‘Here Comes the Snowstorm’ from her new home studio. Fusing folk elements with her acoustic guitar and soft but wise voice, Martha brings elegance and gravitas to her music.
‘Slippers to a Wedding’ opens the collection with simple guitar and vocals. There is a hint of Olivia Chaney in the simplicity and purity of the guitar and vocal approach as Bean lures you in. In the second half though, the track begins to move away from the delicate into hints of more alternative trends. ‘Beneath the Shadows’ explores this further with a plodding ballad full of violins, a chiming drum loop and a complex bubble of synths that give the track an undercurrent. The EP as a whole has a wintery feel to it and even when Martha is singing about darkness with minor keys, the tuned percussion gives an angelic touch.
‘Along the Lonely’, the initial single, is the grittier side of Martha Bean. Kicking off with purposeful electric guitar, a swish brushed drum loop and coiled lyrics, the song becomes a snake. The second half is seductive as the strings lilt around the ever thumbing guitar and Martha chooses wisely to sit back and lean off the gas. The track is far more effective and creepier that way. ‘Circles’ on the flipside is a wintery lullaby. Its charm is in its early Fiona Apple ballad beauty. The production and vocal performance feel classy and vintage yet the song is current. The EP then closes with the gentle warmth of ‘When I Hold You In My Arms’. This track reminds me of Tanya Donelly with its country-tinged acoustic waltz style. It also includes a lyric I’ll be stealing post-Christmas – ‘I don’t mind you making me fatter as long as your still mine’. Hand me the stollen!
Martha Bean is an understated revelation. As a newbie to her music, there is plenty to get stuck into here and enjoy. Maybe it is being frozen cold in the UK, but the tone and feel screams winter warmer too. It would be unjust to categorise the EP as just that though as Martha has plenty of fun exploring darker, twisting themes too. Definitely one to watch.
Recommended track: Along the Lonely
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