Album Review: Marti Pellow – Devil and the Monkey
Marti Pellow is in a league of true and undeniably talented British entertainers known the world over. Suave, charming, handsome and versatile he is a man who has done it all – Front-man of the hugely successful and record breaking band Wet Wet Wet, West End and Broadway lead in shows including Chicago and The Witches of Eastwick and iconic solo superstar dabbling in jazz, easy listening crooner numbers and pop – it’s all in a days work for this guy.
Gifted with a truly angelic and flawless set of vocal chords, the career of Marti Pellow has gone from strength to strength and he has maintained his popularity and status as one of pops golden boys since the early days of Wet Wet Wet, always with a staple of credibility, talent and that killer smile.
As a fan it was great to hear that the release of his new album Devil and the Monkey dawned today.
Devil and the Monkey is primarily a pop record however there are distinctive touches of other genres thrown into the mix that balance this record out well so will easily appeal to a more broader range of music lovers than just pop fans.
Title track Devil and the Monkey gets us started and I am immediately reminded of George Michael’s Shoot The Dog albeit minus the overpowering political preachings and a little more revved up. This one is a daring but very funky pop track with a strong eighties feel and a catchy chorus – a good pick for the first single.
The King of Yesterday brings us more toward the Marti we are most familiar with. This is a crooner number, a big choir orchestral ballad which really showcases the singers impeccable vocals and you can hear in its delivery that this is where Marti is really the most content and comfortable singing lyrics of being a self-confessed king of cool.
The Grass Has Never Been Greener is another powerful ballad among the stand outs on the album with very sentimental lyrics combined with some nice melodies and an uplifting key change thrown in for good measure.
Raising the mood slightly Make It Stick kicks in with some great harmonies and backing vocals and gives the record a real energetic lift. Here Marti gives us a taste of his passion for raw blues and soul numbers.
Atmospheric and emotive comes calling in the form of Winter Across Her Brow. Like the title suggests its a poetic ballad telling a story of love lost. Chorus lyrics ‘I’m sure that she’s comin’, cause the engines still runnin’ is hopeful and optimistic yet tragic in its composition. This one is the album highlight if you like your ballads.
With every great album there will always be the odd track that is less listened to than the rest and Never Give Up On You and Here Today, Here Tomorrow both fall into this category. Both are slightly less inviting than those surrounding them and although they are still nice pieces of pop they don’t quite hit the same mark as the rest on the record.
My Life is a dance track, beat heavy and pop fuelled with an unapologetic message of living life on your own terms. ‘This is my life and I’m gonna live it the way I want’ fills the chorus of this track declaring a statement of independence.
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning is a break away from the the record with Marti leading us down the country road with this acoustic number which suits his vocal style perfectly and proves to be the best number on the album. This one shows a different side to Marti’s versatility compared to the rest of the album and branches out nicely before guiding us into the album closer I Surrender. A well written (particularly when it comes to the lyrics) piano heavy jazz tune, its the perfect end to the record.
Devil and the Monkey is a new collection of well written, memorable and well crafted pop songs brought together with the perfect combination of jazz, blues, soul and country to form yet another gem in the Marti Pellow catalogue. He stands strong as a solo star and this is a record that showcases just that.