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Martin John Henry: The Other Half Of Everything (Gargleblast Records)

Martin John Henry, The Other Half Of Everything

(Gargleblast Records)

ACROSS 11 imperfect yet meticulously crafted songs the former frontman of Lanarkshire outfit De Rosa jettisons his past and paves a future where reverie, rhapsody and a defiantly Caledonian sense of ruggedness converge with devastating results. Sounds hyperbolic? Whatever. The Other Half Of Everything is that good. The fact it follows a skyward arc – musically if not lyrically, this being another missive from the Wounded Scottish Male Psyche (cf Arab Strap, King Creosote, Twilight Sad et al) – is a bonus. Electronics dominate Breathing Space and Span before more songwriterly colours – flinty greys, blues, greens; the odd shaft of yolky yellow – start to bleed through the canvas from I Love Map onwards. From there on, moods ebb and flow from remorseful to righteous with strings, brushed cymbals, a quasi gamelan and more typical indie-rock anchors. If pushed, you could say Only Colour – all blood, bone and brochs – A Perfect Landing and the suitably ghostly closer There’s A Phantom Hiding In My Loft stand millimetres above their counterparts. While this is music as art and destined for a niche audience, it has a pop pulse that’s all too rare in the moraine of so-called leftfield music.

Sean Guthrie

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