Album Review: Kate Martin - Hand Me My Bow And Arrow

22 May 2012 | 7:32 pm | Lucia Osborne Crowley

Kate Martin's second album, Hand Me My Bow & Arrow, displays an emotional and compositional maturity that entirely defies her short career. While the record's various instrumental lines sound fairly raw at times and its lyricism is often quite simplistic, the songs' distinct elements somehow fall together perfectly to create a truly unique sound. The album features an impressive array of instruments beneath remarkably refined guitar lines, all of which effortlessly complement the singer's dynamic vocal abilities.

The album opens with Candle Burnin', Wax Drippin – instrumentation provides a very raw, honest beginning to the record and vocals showcase Martin's unique tone. Compared with later tracks, the lyrical content of this opening track is perhaps overly simplistic, but nevertheless has a distinctly charming quality to it. Apples opens with a confident instrumental line beneath vocals that truly exhibit the singer's talent and sophisticated lyrical ability. The vocal tone and musical pace shift frequently throughout the song, which features an alluring chorus and several distinct melodic sections involving a range of different instruments. Martin's superior vocal quality is emphasised once again in Malleable, a track featuring an understated instrumental line that allows the singer's full vocal range to dominate the opening phrases as her emotional tone swings erratically from desperate to hopeful and back again.

The record closes with The Great Divorce, the most insightful and emotionally involved track on the album. It features a sombre guitar melody and soft, sad vocals, which, coupled with a powerful instrumental line and the introduction of strings and a melancholic hum, make for a very emotive close to the album. While some improvement in cohesiveness and consistency would not go astray, this album plainly establishes Kate Martin's formidable talent and unique musical attitude, which bode very well for the future of her career.