Monday, November 19, 2012


For a record named after a city shoe shop, this EP from Laura J Martin and Mike Lindsay (Tuung/Cheek Mountain Thief) sounds strangely maritime. Salty tales with a mysterious, bobbing allure from somewhere out amid (or under) the Atlantic waves that sound very distant from a dry-land Reykjavik boutique. The recording session in Iceland, now home to the ex-Tuung man, that produced these songs was intended I think as work on the second Laura J Martin album but instead led to Bónus Skór. ‘No Soul's Treasure’ is like floating in a sealed bathysphere: a lullaby-like opening leading to dreamy murmur and hum with child-like wonder, reflective flute and unsteady violin that then decays into a solemn frazzle of fuzzy wheezes before ending with field recordings of conversing Icelandic voices (which re-appear to link each of the following tracks too).

‘Salt Hangs Heavy’ ripples and ebbs, with Laura J Martin’s voice at its most Kate Bush-like over a bubbly bass bounce whilst ‘Fish's Tail’ is a duet, with Lindsay and Martin trading alternate, short lines complicitly over a Portico Quartet-like nautical pulse. ‘Applecart’ feels closest to a companion song to this year’s “The Hangman Tree” and the most land-locked song of the EP: a halting, steady rhythm work song for orchard hands or a song about blame? Even this most lucid of numbers holds its mystery tight. If many of songs on Laura J Martin’s debut album were mini globe-trotting narratives and modern fairy-tales, this collaborative EP is not only more leisurely but also more about mood and brackish atmospheres.

I haven’t heard Mike Lindsay’s Cheek Mountain Thief project so I don’t know is this four-track EP due on Static Caravan at the end of this month (so expect it in December?) is a midpoint between the two artists. But whether a midpoint or biased towards one or the other, the duo are certainly bringing out the best in each other. This is a continually fascinating EP, both familiar and foreign, that feels like the magnetic call of the mermaid (and mer-man). No track to embed yet but as soon as one is available I’ll add it below. But if you trust my judgement, or even if you don’t, you can pre-order Bónus Skór now.

Bónus Skór Bónus Skór [BUY]

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