This picture fully encapsulates what is David Martel’s first solo album, but far from his first venture into music making, as he has been at it for quite awhile. I first got wind of Martel when he was the lead singer of the band onlyforward. Even then it seemed as if it was Martel’s show. His vibrant and eccentric personality led the way, making the name onlyforward synonymous with the name David Martel.
Four years later, Martel has parted ways with onlyforward, and is now making music on his own, music which has become the framework for his debut solo album, I Hardly Knew Me. Now if we look back to the picture, we see a myriad of instruments ranging from trombone to banjo, all of which can be heard on this record, accompanied by his powerful vocals.
The album opens with “Stories” which serves as an appropriate introduction, offering us a glimpse into what is in store for us. The lush vocal harmonies, the synth, leading into what may described as the album’s catchiest track (or my unofficial favourite) “End of Self”. The song starts off with some awesomely catchy synth reminding me a little bit of Sunlandic Twins era Of Montreal. It came as a surprise to me because it’s different than what I am used to hearing from him, but it also got me excited because while I wasn’t expecting it, it sounds great! The song builds up to an amazing ending, reminding me of something off of Sufjan Steven’s Illinoise album, but still maintaining that uniquely David Martel sound.
One of my favourite things about this album is how each song tells a story in it’s musical composition. These songs aren’t your average 2 and a half minute pop songs. Each song goes through many transformations, building up and then crumbling, surprising you at every turn. Just when you think a song is going to end, it veers in a completely unexpected direction, keeping your ears on their toes (yes…your ears on your toes!)
You can purchase the album online here and on Itunes. I highly recommend it. And definitely make it a point to see him live. I have had the privilege of seeing him live 4 times and each time I am amazed. His live show is something not to be missed.
Martel is currently wrapping up a short tour with a date in New York City next week. He also has a few shows lined up in Montreal in July but the venues are not known yet:
June 20 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, New York
July 10 – tba – Montreal, Quebec
July 22 – tba – Montreal, Quebec
July 31 – tba – Montreal, Quebec
And here is a video of Martel performing “Cancel All Your Plans” live on April 19, 2008 at Cafe Lola Rosa: