Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
From being the darling of British Christian pop in the 80’s through his flirting with hit singles and pop success with Sony in the 90’s, it seems that a new decade reveals that Martyn Joseph has finally found a home for his musical endeavours. Literally. Working under his own steam in a home studio, writing about subjects that move his heart, Martyn’s new album is filled with observations about life flavoured with outrage and faith in equal measure. Two highlights for me are where the shallowness and sham of fame are examined in “Celebrity”, and the poignant “Good Man” seeks to find hope amidst a suicide. Honesty and tenderness seep out, and yet Martyn’s also prepared to express his anger as injustice is attacked from two different angles. On “People As Crazy As Me”, Martyn speaks out on behalf of all of us who look around and wonder how society has become so uncaring, and “All In The Past” examines the legacy of past injustices and how they resonate in the present still demanding closure. On the other side of the coin “The Good In Me Is Dead” personalises the pain of today’s injustices and the horror of Balkan atrocities. Martyn’s choice of cover versions includes the powerful Harry Chapin story song “The Mayor Of Candor Lied” and Joan Osborne’s “One Of Us”, a long-time live favourite. I do have a claim to fame for this album, since the moment of inspiration for “Liberal Backslider” came during a backstage conversation with Martyn a while back. The song will ruffle a few feathers but just remember, it’s satire! Pointed satire, but tongue-in-cheek just the same. “Far From Silent” sees Martyn raising his voice, asking all the questions everyone would rather ignore. He’s a stone in your shoe, irritating yet impossible to ignore, and I love his skill in creating art that knocks the listener off balance.
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