Thursday, 14 December 2017

Album Review: It Happened by Paul Martin (1996) (Label: Distortions Records / Guersson Records)

At the time of release my jangle inclinations had veered from the 80's British Post-Punk , through whatever guitar sounds Sarah Records decided were cool in the very early 90's and were now stubbornly avoiding Britpop by concentrating on the mid-90's Thousand Yard Stare, Kingmaker and The Frank and Walters incarnation of jangle-pop..

However, just as the above three bands were falling out of fashion, along came this album. It was released in vinyl format only by committed psyche-rock specialists Distortions Records and were re-mastered versions of just two singles and a dozen demos.

Distortions were obviously enlightened as this is a truly defining album of 60's jangle pop and is as interesting as it is beautiful due to the fact it concentrates on the the three prevalent jangle-pop styles at the time with absolute ease.

Initially tracks such as You Don't Seem to Understand, It Happened (see below) and The Last Remains of Our Love (see above) present 60's British pop jangle superbly marrying snotty vocals to big booming drums and baselines as the treble flutters about incidentally in the background offering brief chimes. In my mind and as much as I try and prevent the image, these are the sort of tracks that Austin Powers types should have been getting 'groovy' to in 60's London.

Martin then moves on to the psyche-rock/folk end of the jangle-pop spectrum. In tracks such as You Were There and All That's left. Here the song craft becomes more pronounced and the jangle impetus more insistent as it drives the tracks rather than being a mere compliment to the other dominant musical factors. The jangle becomes the Beef in the Beef Wellington rather than merely the pastry.

The standout tracks of the album are undoubtedly The Byrds inspired Your is the Life and How Many Tears Must I Cry which mimic their influences perhaps a bit too much, which is ultimately forgiven because it is done with such accomplishment.

However It is not a complete jangle-pop festival. Martin appears to be something of the complete 60's artist forcing the listener to go through 5/6 tracks of Engelbert Humperdinck / Neil Diamond (I actually thought it was Neil Diamond singing on Without Your Love) style crooning on romantic ballads that wistfully confess love for an unknown wonder-lady. Extremely impotent.

However it is worth sitting through the occasional dross to find the regular jangle-pop / psyche-folk nuggets.

Artist Links

Another re-mastered version by Guersson Records from 2016 is available at Bandcamp and contains one extra track.

No comments:

Post a comment