Lost And Found (Deluxe Edition)
A year or two go, the JLTT team were at The Half Moon in Putney, SW London to see a band called Stargazer, Glenn reviewed the show and we will link the piece below for you. The lead singer, returning to the stage after various medical troubles and sounding in good form was the actress/ singer Martine McCutcheon. Perhaps best known for her sojourn in a miserable, negative TV soap opera, this lady does have a voice to savour..
So with a lot of promotional dates booked, Ms McCutcheon presents a new album. Thankfully it is not stuffed with West End cliché choices but rather new and newish material which the lass can get her teeth into and sing as fresh to your ears. The cover of the album/booklet is pretty dour, only missing a séance lamp! But the songs have some range. Let’s run through them….
Opening cut Say I’m Not Alone has heartbreaker title before we even hear it, but hits a great rocky groove in the style of the current Fleetwood Mac. The harmonies are perfect. The slide guitar sweeps gently in the backdrop over twinkling keys. The chorus is full-blooded and the lyric is excellent, the vocal delivery a tad Transatlantic but not overdone. It sounds like a late 70s radio favourite. As a song on the complications of romance this ticks all the boxes.
Maybe I Should Run has an airier, elemental feel, with Martine in reflective and appropriately softer mode. The guitars are well-used and the singing tuneful. Could be a Corrs song, the construction is very similar to the material. The strings are lively towards the end, in a regal manner before the piano takes prominence. The sort of material that would go over well in performance. Paradise is a common song title – even I have a song called Paradise, after a challenge from one of my bands to write something uplifting! – and this is a surefooted rock ballad. Very similar to the song Torn in melody, here and there. Well sung but the arrangement is very Westlife ie obvious.
Any Sign Of Life has a fine brisk pace that so many female singers’ albums lack. This has a real rush abut it which puts it more in Pat Benatar territory as a number. McCutcheon can handle this sort of fast chug and retain her singing character. So this is something of a triumph, the guitars are just about dirty enough. Just about…
Stay With Me has slacker’s tempo and ominous sound, with a questioning vocal from our star. It’s a nice interlude with a cool guitar backing that doesn’t drown the verses. Maybe the best vocal on the record, I think – MM as she should be heard. The male lead vocal complements the arrangement pretty well, no trace of corn.
What You Do To Me concerns a lover whose devastating effect is taking its toll on the narrator. The pain is captured well, over a slightly rocky, moody setting. It starts with a brief celestial chorale before settling into the story itself. Strangely there are hints of Torn in the melody here. By the way, every key chosen for these songs is spot-on.
Cried A Little floats into earshot, with its soft electronica and distant strings. A very beautiful song overall and sung with no histrionics or overkill, just soul. I am very impressed, stage actresses so often over-emote as they are used to pushing their voices out over the rustle of the Milk Tray. Archive has a strong rock pulse and almost declamatory vocal of again high quality and authority..her love of Stevie Nicks’ approach to putting a tune over is showing on this one. Excellent!
Every Breath You Take is that horror of a Sting song, solemnly delivered with piano backing. Why does nobody twig that this song is about a pervert/stalker ?? The lyric is unsettling and creepy. Not a good choice, sorry. Closer cut Rebellion has hints of Police guitar weaving about it but the song is more like a Shania Twain number with a twisting melodic line for McCutcheon to put over.
There are far more strong cuts on this set than you would ever imagine, West End jadedness is absent, neat arrangements abundant. At times a trumpet and certainly spikier guitars would have given a lift, but if you want a distinctive performer singing well this is your stop, readers.
(Thanks to Glenn Sargeant for sourcing this booklet edition and both Ashley and Henry at MBC PR)
You can read our review of Stargazer at The Half Moon, Putney, London, United Kingdom here: http://bit.ly/1lDmy8l
Martine McCutcheon’s new studio album ‘Lost and Found’ is out now on BMG/Universal.
In addition, Martine will be embarking on a five-date UK headline tour in November 2017.
The tour stops at the following venues:
Wednesday 8th November 2017 – G Live, Guildford, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2hxNhSe
Friday 10th November 2017 Sage 2, Gateshead, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2a3RVJk
Sunday 12th November 2017 – Parr Hall, Warrington, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2rwFpFx
Monday 13th November 2017 – Town Hall, Birmingham, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2o9Nhwy
Tuesday 14th November 2017 – Islington Assembly Hall, London, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2j9TSr8