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Martine McCutcheon – ‘Lost and Found’

posted 29 Aug 2017, 11:59 by Paul Woodward

(BMG)

Review by Woody

Martine McCutcheon’s new album Lost and Found is essentially a pop rock record, with all that implies, commercial, memorable and addictive. For me though this album as a whole showcases a lot of soft rock touches, obviously this is accentuated by the guitar hooks but even more noticeably by the keyboard’s and synths. The Synth riff on ‘Any Sign of Life’ could have been lifted from Vega’s ‘Kiss of Life’ album easily, there’s a touch of James Martin on that one! There’s some slight modern country flourishes on some songs too.

This is a very mature collection of songs, it’s still pop orientated but it’s not throwaway or frivolous as that tag tends to make people think. In fact, this is a very deep and emotional album, which really sees McCutcheon laying herself bare and vulnerable both vocally and lyrically. I’m always drawn to songs I can connect to or feel emotionally satisfied by and McCutcheon has done that here, the depth and personal nature of most these songs has made it very easy to relate and connect with them.

McCutcheon’s vocals throughout are exemplary, she has a soft and warm vocal that is extremely melodious and soothing. She lets her vocals soar as and when a song needs, always to dramatic effective that boosts the impact of a song on the listener. But this album isn’t about warbling (something I detest) it’s all about emotion and beautiful vocal melodies and we hear a good range of what McCutcheon can do vocally throughout the album.

As I previously stated it is a very emotional album and McCutcheon’s vocal delivery accentuates that, vulnerable, heart breaking at times and always no matter what song always powerfully emotive. She has such a beautiful voice it’s so easy to fall in love with her songs and I found myself connecting with her music instantly.

McCutcheon’s husband and co-writer Jack McManus has a strong background in music and song writing, so the heavy use of orchestration is no surprise. On Lost and Found these frequent string orchestration sections add a stunning amount of power to the songs adding dramatic effect and increasing emotional impact. It really adds to the luscious nature of these melodic soundscapes that back McCutcheon’s emotive vocals.

Album opener ‘Say I’m Not Alone’ is a radio friendly pop rocker with an awesome uplifting chorus with some delightful luscious guitar and keyboard licks. ‘Maybe I Should Run’ is very emotional with a powerfully emotive heart-breaking chorus. The power of the song is accentuated by the guitars and has an evocative string section. ‘Paradise’ is dark and moody and an emotion dripping mid-tempo song which also contains a beautiful string section.

‘Any Sign Of Life’ is a melodic rocker – I’m sure many genre bands would sell their soul for a track like this. Totally addictive with an insane sing along chorus that will get stuck in your head forever! ‘Stay With Me’ is a duet with McManus and his voice seems familiar to me, especially on the high notes – think it reminds of the guy from Lawson – don’t quote me on that though! It’s a beautiful and emotive song with an enrapturing chorus. ‘What You Do To Me’ has a beautiful vocal melody alongside an emotive guitar lick and great atmospheric keyboards.

I really wish I didn’t relate to ‘Cried A Little’ but I do, it’s already a frim favourite on the 3am playlist! It’s an absolutely heart wrenching ballad that is at the same time stunningly beautiful. There’s a touch of anger and fuck you attitude to ‘Archive’ it’s dark toned and has a real punch with a great guitar hook and unrelenting chorus. McCutcheon’s cover of Police classic ‘Every Breath You Take’ is a bare bones piano version and it’s very atmospheric and really highlights how beautiful her vocals are. Album closer ‘Rebellion’ is beautiful with an infectious guitar lick and a slight folk touch which makes me think of The Corrs.

Lost and Found is a strong contender for album of the year for me and if it doesn’t attain that title, then it will definitely be one of my most listened to albums of the year. As it’s such a deep and emotional album this gives it longevity so I know these songs will stay with me and I will continue to play the album frequently as time goes by. An absolutely fantastic album and I really hope there is more to come from Martine!

Track Listing: Say I’m Not Alone / Maybe I Should Run / Paradise / Any Sign Of Life / Stay With Me / What You Do To Me / Cried A Little / Archive / Every Breath You Take / Rebellion

Album Rating: 10/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Cried A Little

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