Wednesday, April 4, 2012

CD Review: Martina Downey's 'Sign Post'

Martina Downey
Sign Post

New Jersey-based, Martina Downey, brings to life the psychedelic and R&B-driven sounds of America's golden age of rock, soul, and ambient music during the 1960's and 70's. This sophomore release of ten new songs represents a lively set of music that combines various genres and influences for an adventurous, urban, and gospel-centric audience. The dreamy instrumentation, punchy percussion, and jazz or rock idioms are also presented here. Martina's vocals are joined by back-up singers, but the  instrumental arrangements are equally-compelling. Notably, the entire album contains vocals, but the genre-bending instrumentation provides a good selection of melodies, rhythms, and influences to enjoy. The jazzy "Close To Her" opens with a piano and sax with Martina's unconventional high tonal range, but the song is extremely catchy. "Dark Caverns" is a classic, pop track with R&B funk, gospel joy, and rippling guitar sounds throughout. "Finer Things" is another pop classic with rousing vocals and punchy guitar work with keyboard strings. The folk-rock tune, "Hurricane," is a tune with Top-40 potential and a good, gritty rock mix of styles bordering folk, alternative pop, and jazz. The entire set of songs runs the gamut from jazz, folk, rock, R&B, gospel, jazz, and psychedelica. Martina Downey is a woman full of creative energy and a compendium of songs that more than suit her vocal abilities. Sign Post is a mile marker of artistic achievement. ~ Matthew Forss     

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