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Martina Topley Bird - ‘The Blue God’ review


Martina Topley Bird - The Blue God

I couldn’t have picked a better day to listen to Martina Topley Bird’s new CD, ‘The Blue God’, for the first time.

Looking out of my window at a perfect spring day, a nice breeze coming in, ‘The Blue God’ fits the bill. This is already a contender for one of my favorite summer albums of 2008.

Chilled out grooves, cool bass lines that stir something inside of me and instrumentation to drool over. And of course, Martina’s smooth, laid back vocals and juicy harmonies. The album was produced by Danger Mouse and it’s no surprise that he’s as sought after a producer as he is.

Opening track “Phoenix” could be the most radio friendly of the songs on ‘The Blue God’. “Carnies” is also a brilliant track, maybe my favorite on the album, and I can’t help but move to the music. I *really* like the prominent bass line throughout. The lyrics, about “Carnies” or carnival workers working at a fair, reminds me of back home in New England. I haven’t heard that term since I’ve been living in England…and remember the days when the carnies would come to town!

“Something To Say” has a subtle way of bringing in different instrumentation, including a bass line that comes in a couple of times reminiscent of Les Claypool from Primus, who apparently Martina has worked with in the past.

I’m a sucker for slick changes within songs, and “Shangri La” is a good example of just that. The intro features organ, acoustic guitar, fat ‘Bill Laswell-esque’ bass, strings and percussion - and just when you start to get into the slow, sexy feel of it, it all falls away to a funky groove when Martina’s vocals come in along with Clash like guitar stabs. Very cool.

“Valentine” is a sultry little number. I was familiar with the track as it was a free giveaway here on Band Weblogs. There are some nice changes - again very laid back with soft tremolo, surf guitars, and the vocals are stand-out, as are the background vocals. “Poison”, another free MP3, has an old 60’s feel with Martina’s voice sitting seductively in the mix.

On “Razor Tonque”, which features Money Mark on bass, the effects on Martina’s vocals are reminiscent of Beth Gibbons from Portishead. Actually, if someone had played it for me before I knew it was Martina Topley Bird, and told me that it was Portishead, on first listen, I might have believed them.

“Da Da Da Da” is certainly an interesting song title. And it does exactly what it says on the box. A lot of da da da da da das. Da da da da da…not my favorite song on ‘The Blue God’. Luckily it’s the shortest track on the CD. Closing track “Yesterday” is probably the most ‘experimental’ song on the album. There’s a lot going on with the instrumentation and the vocals, with various sounds that seem like they’re coming in off the count or out of tune, but it actually works. It’s different…but I like it.

Martina Topley Bird has found herself a winner with ‘The Blue God’. Highly recommended.

Martina Topley Bird - The Blue God on

Martina Topley Bird Official Website

By: Jenny May -

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