The Sound of the Ladies - Scrape the Paint
Owain Paciuszko 09/12/2008
Opening with a Jeff Buckley-like guitar, The Sound of the Ladies aka. Martin Austwick may lack similar vocal power but he doesn't lack talent. Fortunately eschewing the pitfalls of many solo artists this is an album with plenty of life and invention.
Free to download from the official website this five-track release has a melancholic, bluesy feel with Austwick's strong voice and smart lyrics taking centre-stage. There are further Buckley comparisons to be made with the close of 'Deep Dish', as Austwick howls and wails mournfully over a loosely strummed electric guitar, fortunately - though the comparison is almost impossible to avoid - Austwick has enough of his own talent and skill to not blur behind this spot-the-difference.
Instrumental track 'Not New York (in the pouring rain)' rather wonderfully has the sound of a genuine torrential downpour in the background, as well as Austwick's occasional sniffing. The EP closes with 'Centralia, PA' named after the infamous American ghost town, the track builds towards a great climax before squandering it all with the dreaded 'fade out' (a crime commited earlier on the album as well). If anything this closing track is indicative of all this record's blessings and curses, Austwick has talent, but it always seems to shuffle off with a lack of focus when it could be harnessed into something quite wonderful. As it stands this is a good EP that ear-marks Austwick as a promising and prolific talent.