Martyn Joseph - Songs for the Coming Home

by Dan Clay Rating:8.5 Release Date:2012-10-22

An inspired live presence, Wales' Martyn Joseph has for decades now been making the kind of angsty yet beautiful music which deserves Ed Sheeran's acclaim on album after album. With his latest collection, though, Joseph's attempts to capture the essence of his live show see him produce probably his strongest set yet.

From the dreamy landscape of opener 'Crossing the Line' to the quiet epic of closer 'Archive' Joseph packs Songs for the Coming Home with plenty of crowd-pleasers, while never forsaking the messages behind his driving acoustic offerings. Which means that while '

' takes a swipe at those on the trading floor - "None of them are falling on their swords" - it does so with melodic delight and a stirring brass section. The equally pacy 'Not a Good Time for God' throws in the kind of religious comparison that Joseph pulls off with tongue-in-cheek, while the chirpy 'Feels Like This', if Joseph did singles, would probably be the album's teaser.

However, it's his trademark touch for a clever melody which sees the likes of 'Let Yourself' and 'Still a Lot of Love Around Here' emerge as some of the strongest songs in his back catalogue; the latter capturing elements of his 'boyband' song played live thanks to a backing choir. With the beautiful 'Clara' and a re-working of 'Whoever It Was' completing this set, it's hard not to feel, once the fading sounds of a tinkling wind chimes die out, that on this sort of form, Joseph's songs should be coming home to as wide audience as possible.

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