Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Billie Marten – Drop Cherries Review

Lush and calming indie folk charms are an area of expertise for Billie Marten. Following on from the impressive, acoustic-led consistencies of Feeding Seahorses By the Hand and Flora Fauna, the Yorkshire-based folk charms of Marten is continued once more. Drop Cherries is another delicate selection of moving acoustics, with all the sliding notes and tender qualities of intimate and personable tracks. What sounds like circling the drain in the opening moments of New Idea soon spins a humming, hopeful closeness. Drop Cherries opens with a raw and powerful appeal to those that are already letting indie-folk tracks into their heart. Marten and her work here fits the mould, yet pushes through as truly extraordinary and thoroughly unique. 

Such a gentle, warm blanket to wrap around an overworked brain. Drop Cherries is a delight. Lightness of that heartfelt variety is clear on God Above, the shimmering acoustic charms of Feeding Seahorses By the Hand are maintained and improved on with some swaying string sections. Sweet little tracks would be accurate but brush off the powerful lyrical placements Marten brings. I Can’t Get My Head Around You is a wonderful track that utilises the usual run of worry and doubt present in every situation. Willow follows up with gorgeous use of the acoustic guitar at Marten’s disposal, sliding chords and percussion under it all brings out the very best of her calming, oftentimes inspiring works. Knowing placements on that aforementioned Willow gives the best of both core pieces for Marten and her work so far. 

Isolating her vocals toward the end, shoring it up beforehand with some exceptional playing, it is the fine core of Drop Cherries and the consistency of that trickling, touching setlist that makes it such a rewarding listen. Isolated blame on I Bend To Him is a striking moment, a change in tone that sees that singularity and a grief-like state of chimes reduce the at-first lighter strokes into a darker and powerful place. That marks a considered turning point for Drop Cherries, an album that holds a candle to the writing talent Marten has, and how important her perspective is. That shift in tone is where Marten hits her stride, the perfect and powerful brass of Nothing But Mine is mixed to give the instrumentals focus, but when it all comes apart, when Marten is isolated, there comes a consolidation and cementing of the message at the heart of Drop Cherries. 

Heart-wrenching and consistent in its tone, the folk genre has gained itself an important voice. An incredibly fortunate feel rushes over Drop Cherries. Its seasonal appeal, despite not having one focused part of the year, gives it a confident and colloquial approach that Marten utilises with extraordinary, moving charm. Just Us has that imitable appeal, an exceptional familiarity expands these tracks into singer-songwriter essentials. Tongue showcases that with sincerity. Drop Cherries is a must-listen, a record someone should fight tooth and nail just to hear. Marten is the arrow, as Arrow describes. Listen to her. Sharp and to the point, with a focus refined by years of folk commitment. Drop Cherries is a just reward for a consistent, contemporary artist.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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