Let’s get it out of the way right now, as the founding member of De Rosa Martin John Henry is at least partly responsible for two of my favourite albums, Scottish or otherwise, of the last ten years. You can make it three albums if you count the De Rosa Appendices. With that in mind it would be quite a surprise if I didn’t like The Other Half of Everything, Martin’s debut solo album.
There’s no surprises ahead then, I do like the album. Rather a lot in fact. Yeah, ok, let’s throw measured critical analysis out of the window (Ha! as if that has ever existed at Aye Tunes!) and get to it, I bloody love this album.
Breathing Space starts the album off in a fairly mellow, gentle style, before Span comes along and quickly lets you know you are in for something a bit different. Span embraces the electro elements of the album, and ends up being something not far off a big disco floor filler. The album continues to switch between mellow and upbeat throughout, blending the acoustic and the electronic beautifully. If you can listen to current single Ribbon on a Bough without your head bobbing check your pulse, you might be dead.
There’s not a bad song on this album, although since I’ve had various version of I Love Map since it popped up on an Off The Beaten Track compilation in 2007 it does by now suffer from over familiarity, and too many highlights to name. Closing track There’s a Phantom Hiding In My Loft does deserve a special wee mention though, just because it wraps up an excellent album beautifully.
If like me you find yourself missing De Rosa on regular occasions you owe it to yourself to pick up The Other Half of Everything. It is not just one of my favourite things I’ve heard this year, it is one of my favourite things I’ve heard since, well, the second De Rosa album.
If this review was a photograph it would be one of me sitting stroking the album lovingly. I make no apologies. We don’t do star rating at Aye Tunes, but Martin John Henry can have five of them anyway.
The Other Half of Everything is released through Gargleblast Records on October 10th. The album is available to pre-order on Bandcamp.
Before that there is a launch gig at Stereo in Glasgow on October 8th (oops, I’m cutting this review a bit fine) with support from Adam Stafford and The Seventeenth Century.