Time Spent Swimming
“Got a hole in my heart/And I can’t fill it up” sings Selina Martin in the opening track, “Tangier” from her new album Time Spent Swimming. The music is electronic and sparse, and her voice comes in full of pain and questioning. It is a remarkable way to open an album and it sets the tone for the next 43 or so minutes. Time Spent Swimming is a fascinating, and enjoyable album full of twists and turns. It is hard to categorize Martin, and this is a compliment. Experimental pop mixed with electronica with a bit of singer/songwriter. I am sure if Carole King was starting out today, she may be doing something like this. Martin is not afraid to take chances and explore sounds. She uses her voice as an instrument.
Nor does she pull punches. Her lyrics are straightforward and full of love and anger. “Two Storeys” is a great example. The anger is there but so is her sadness and disappointment. Musically it is disconcerting and lyrically it is powerful. Martin uses her words carefully and if one is to turn off the music and read the lyrics, they do read like poetry.
No two songs really sound alike, and yet when hey all come together for the album, everything fits. The songs all line up and one can see the care taken in the sequencing of the album. Martin is smart and gives breathing room throughout. Songs like “If You Were A River” and “Leopard-Skin Vespa” are more conventional than other tracks, but don’t let that fool you, they still pack punches. Even songs such as “Something Wide Awake”, which begins quite sparse, builds and takes the listener on Martin’s musical journey.
That is the absolute beauty of this album, the use of sound but also the strong use of melody. This is not experimental for experiment’s sake. The sounds she incorporates create the mood for each and every song. “So Lo” is a prime example. Brilliant title and the song itself is sparse and uses sounds more than conventional instruments but again it works. The mood and vibe that is created is beyond words and one cannot help but focus on her story and emotion.
Time Spent Swimming is a very strong album. Musically and lyrically this album offers so much and Martin has every right to be proud of Time Spent Swimming.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: SELINA MARTIN – TIME SPENT SWIMMING