It’s apparent that Toby Martin (formerly of the band Youth Group) wrote much of his debut album Love’s Shadow in the midst of nonchalant journeys, that led him to recall destinations of the wondering sort – and of the heart.
Love’s Shadow tells a tale of common individuals in common places. The unique factor about these individuals is that they possess the human trait of being romantics, with the inevitability to constantly find themselves lost, lonely and heartbroken – characteristics that many can no doubt empathize with.
Despite its melancholy theme, aided by softer and subtle melodies of the indie rock taste, the album is not as sad as you’d think it to be, considering its theme recalls thoughts that, at some point, we had all thought we left far behind. However, as overwhelming as the lyrics might be (shoving feelings of lovesick, lonely nights back into our faces) the album itself is not completely overpowering. In other words, there is a perfect contrast between the way the lyrics and instrumentals are delivered. The music is restrained enough to allow us a feeling of calm, while the lyrics are the more attention grabbing element.
Because the tracks are not overwhelmed with loud percussion and grungy guitar riffs (which we all know fit suitably into tunes about disappointed lovers) we are left with a mature piece of art, featuring guitar picking and smooth string arrangements, accompanied by spurts of soft piano hooks.
Despite collaborating with a number of musicians, Martin undoubtedly stuck out with vocals ranging in the proximity of the 60s britpop. This ultimately concluded the sound of Love’s Shadow as a sultry, mellow collection of tales of ordinary people with common heartache, delivered in a format of catchy songs.
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