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SHY Martin – Late Night Thoughts Review

Tender and defenceless thoughts crop up in the night, and musicians are adamant on charting them. Suede did so with their aptly titled Night Thoughts. Richard Hawley, the legend of Sheffield himself, took one look at it all and deemed them the Late Night Final. For SHY Martin to join those ranks is no real surprise, a debut album which dedicates itself to short, bitter and sweet results. Not even twenty minutes. It is quality, not quantity, which guides the essential seven tracks SHY Martin presents. Acoustic-driven and emotive through tremendous lyrical assertations and the echoes of little bits and extra pieces of studio massaging make Late Night Final a stunning shot in the debut scene.  

Softly spoken and often showcasing a faux lack of confidence, Wish I Didn’t Know You represents a steady start. It gives listeners an immediate representation of what Martin is up to, what she can provide and how she will maintain her standard. Late Night Thoughts clearly has an exceptionally high bar, considering how few tracks make the cut for her debut record. Depending on seven songs which rise with grace and stumble back with the inarticulate shock of a natural pushback, is emotive. That is the goal, yes? Because if it is, Martin has clearly succeeded. It is easy to write off this, as well as the many contemporary folk and acoustic musicians, of muddying the waters with their similar chord structures and battered lyrics, their beaten reminiscences. At least Martin has sincerity for them. Those titular Late Night Thoughts bring about some balance to that lucid experience. Not quite dreaming of the horrors, not quite awake to tell them apart from the real world. 

Told to a shimmering pop beat with an acoustic guitar at the centre of it all, Late Night Thoughts is an obvious single choice. Behind its veil is Glued to the Floor, an incredible high which presents these lucid dreams for what they are. Out of control but in perspective, moments which bring necessary detail, obscured ever so slightly by the broader lyrics Martin can handle, consistently. Wait It Out maintains its titular worries well, on an album where brevity loses out on the chance to cement memorable tracks. Quick enough to throw on for a listen, but not at all long enough to leave a major impression. Martin makes a respectable gamble but with tonal similarities and a shortness to it, the positives of cutting only the finest mean the garment is particularly short.  

Still, is it better to have a wonderfully consistent, short experience, or to stagger through a lengthy experience with the same number of solid tracks? The former, obviously. Less is more, although Martin takes it to heart, chopping and changing what makes the final cut of her seven-track album. Grow Old Together barely marks itself as a ditsy, post-romantic, two-minute track. But the necessity of Wait It Out soon follows and bridges into the tremendously solid Don’t Let Me Forget You Love Me. Articulate messages in title, defined by their tender acoustics and raw emotional singularity. Martin may not need to worry as of yet about having her work pigeonholed, but seven similar tracks, of a granted and well-reasoned quality, may see her shunted into an acoustic arena stuffed full of hopeful hangers-on. Martin is more than that, just listen closely.  

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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