Review: Laura J Martin @ Dulcimer, Chorlton – 22/01/2012

By James McLaughlin

Liverpudlian multi-musician Laura J Martin played to a sold out Dulcimer, Chorlton on Sunday night.

The highly original one woman band, with more bundled energy than a Duracell bunny, traversed her trademark array of instruments as the audience clamoured for more.

Opening the show in an intimate upstairs cavern, was contagiously catchy instrumental ‘Doki Doki’. The audience were instantly introduced to the lightning fast flautist, marching through the melody, accompanied by the experienced use of her trusty loop station.

Her vocals have drawn justified comparisons with Kate Bush and her delicate tone compliments her talent for musical arrangement perfectly.

Admittedly gathering her breath, Martin then demonstrated her adept pianist skills and gave the audience their first taste of her singing talents, partnering with percussionist Pete Williams for beat heavy ‘The Lesson’.

Discussing “A relationship in tatters”, Martin recounts a series of lessons, most aptly, “Lesson two; this is just the beginning.” It seems more a prophesy than a lesson that with talent in abundance there is surely only one way her career is set to go.

Martin is as close to one of a kind in her music styles bouncing between Oriental, folk and the beats of her hip hop origins.

It’s also not often an artist flauts and sings their way through a tale of a Japanese arsonist before an ominous piano number about a serial killer in ‘Jesse’, taking in a wide range of subject matter.

This is not however a jack of all trades, master of none scenario with the pint-sized bundle of energy delivering a range of infectious melodies and melodic delights.

Sandwiched between the two tracks, her mandolin skill comes to the fore as ‘Tom’ brings waves of stunning and stripped down vocals over minimalist mandolin play.

After a stage reshuffle Martin promised a track “As fresh as your Sunday socks”, commanding the captivated audience with an air of pleasant modesty. The track, ‘Sour Grapes’ further demonstrated her prowess at delivering catchy riffs which leave the audience humming long after the lights have dimmed.

Another Oriental infused flute track followed in the guise of ‘Spy’, a tale about a “Careless Ninja”. Martin rounded the show off with her professed favourite track ‘Salamander’ combining her flute, vocal and mandolin talents which only served to whet the audience’s appetite more.

With the crowd clamouring for an encore, Martin returned to the stage for a cover of Kathy Smith’s – ‘It’s taking so long’. Yet another beat centric mandolin adaptation, it was a fitting end to a lively show from the talented musician.

If she continues to produce a rare variety of music with such panache there will no doubt be more and more audiences leaving with sore ankles from hour-long stints of involuntary toe-tapping.

Martin’s debut album, ‘The Hangman Tree’ was released yesterday and is available from or via iTunes.


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