Simplicity and Complexity

22 01 2013

Martin Rossier album coverI got around to buying Martin Rossiters (lead singer of Gene) album last weekend after having heard a track on a free CD sampler. He has one of my all-time favourite voices and it was always a disappointment when Gene were no longer as I owned everything in their back catalogue and found myself craving more of his tuneful angst.

So this solo album came along and whilst it may not appeal to all fans of Gene, it is certainly a slight change of direction from the more layered and built ‘rock’ songs, but it really is a beautiful record in all of its stripped back simplicity. The majority of the 10 tracks on the album feature just Rossiters stunning vocals and the accompaniment of a piano.

Yet buried underneath this glaring simplicity, if piano and voice can be deemed simple, is a deep set of complex emotions in the material that Rossiter tackles. The album gets straight in to the deep stuff with album opener Three Points on a Compass talking about the father that Rossiter never really had, he sings “The only thing I ever got from you was my name, You broke our home, and I will never forgive”.

Tough, but then Rossiter himself, since the Gene days, has entered fatherhood and also battled depression, behind every artist it does seem that there is often a flawed side to the personality and/or mental state, is that what belies genius?

The standout track for me though is without doubt Where There are Pixels, with the powerful and booming chords of the chorus. that is reached via an almost crescendo, yet underneath it’s a depressing song with Rossiter offering, “No more blank, wasted days, Starting to crack, too tired to wait, When you’re drowning, on dry land, everyday” 

For a man who has essentially been in the rock wilderness for the past ten years it is an exceptional album, and it is probably some of this time out of the limelight which has given Rossiter the time to perfect what is a blissful 45 minutes of music.

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