Martha Ffion - Sunday Best

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:8 Release Date:2018-03-09
Martha Ffion - Sunday Best
Martha Ffion - Sunday Best

“Punch Drunk,” a sobering song about co-dependency, and arguably the strongest cut on Sunday Best, the debut album from Ireland-born, Scotland-based Martha Ffion, starts with this line in the sand, “When I was just a shell I swore never to sell myself short.” By the end, however, the lyrical thread has turned bittersweet. She laments a lover's problem and swears it's the last time she'll bail him out: "Oh, my love can't be sober till we start dying. I'll carry you home one more time, and then it's over." It’s a heartbreakingly lovely song, her vocals soaring over the jangly melody, driven by a theme parsed across the highly satisfying ten tracks - reflection.

For the second time this week, I’ve read promotional materials that drops the term “coming of age” at me, and I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t simply lazy verbiage to describe any new artist. To her credit, Ffion, who has an EP and a single release on her resume already, has the melodic polish and lyrical breadth and clarity of a veteran. Indeed, the term “coming of age” sounds a bit condescending.

Mixing straightforward guitar pop (the surfish twang of “Record Label,” the anthem feel of “No Applause,” or the jangle of “Real Love”) with quieter moments (the old-school country vibe of “Baltimore,” or the McCartney-esque lighthearted sensibility evident on “We Make Do”), Ffion offers up a warm, wistful, yet playful collection of catchy music.

An album cover shot of Ffion in a white lace dress, glancing back of her shoulder, amidst an old fashioned pastel, picture-frame design, along with the dated connotations of her album title, harkens to a time long before she was surely born, a time when lovely voiced ladies sang heartfelt songs and called themselves Tammy, Loretta, Dolly, or Patsy. It also indicates the retro influences from which Ffion has carved a strong debut that is all her own. I’m eager to hear more and witness her growth.

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