Laura J. Martin -‘The Hangman Tree’ (Static Caravan)
Liverpudlian Laura finally releases her debut album, several singles down the line, including the rather fine title track. In that time she has collaborated with members of Teenage Fanclub and Gorky’s for last year’s album as Jonny, amongst other projects, not to mention being proficient at both the mandolin and flute, both of which she plays live.
Her vocal style is somewhere around the Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom and Bjork end of the spectrum. It’s a good sort of kooky, without being melodramatic or histrionic. Amongst her interests are Japanese folklore, but there’s also a sense in which this is a very English record – in the way that the pastoral sounds of Fairport Convention or Virginia Astley make for a very English sound. The psychedelic folk feel might gtet it labelled acid folk or some such bizarre type label, if labelling or pigeon-holing is your thing.
The album is very much as one piece, and there are no doubt those who will find the spirit impenetrable. But there will be those who fall in live with it, who embrace and relish its charms and unusual approach, up against so much run of the mill folk and pop music today. Set to become a cult classic, I think.
The Hangman Tree is released on Static Caravan on January 23.