Ditching the acoustic guitar and opting for an uncharacteristically funky neon sound, Brooklyn singer Martin Crane sets out to wow fans with his first solo new release Physical Therapy. The driving force behind U.S. indie-rock band Brazos steps out on his own and away from the more conventional song-writing of recent years to produce an album with a plethora of harmonies in a hybrid of often indiscernible styles.
Opening track Amanda’s House bursts in to life with rapid and bright percussive melodies and a tinny drum machine which sets a standard for the album, reoccurring in most every song to support the experimental instrumental lines and gritty vocals provided by Crane. Tracks like Modern World sound like the soundtrack to a Super Mario Bros. game has been morphed with casual and dreamy indie vocals and just doesn’t really fit; it chugs along, choppy and interrupted with strange rap-like moments of reflection from Crane and it’s hard for your ears to settle on any particular element and enjoy this track.
Crane’s most intelligible track on this release is the single Gunk of Stars; don’t be put off by the name because it’s in this song that all the elements and ideas Crane is trying to get across form a beautiful work; versatile and creative lyrics with expansive vocals all flutter on with a haunting texture of evanescent beats. Unfortunately Crane seems to flit in and out of this gorgeous creative streak and reverts back to the uncertainty in style and the song writing; Lights Out is an odd cross between dub-step and jazz whose only catchy component is the soaring voice of Crane.
There are some brilliantly fascinating sounds happening in this release but what Crane is trying to get across with this new form of sound, whilst a great achievement to add to his song writing portfolio, the inconsistency in production and the experimentation in fusion of forms is often confusing to listen to and not in an appealing way.