Jeff Martain 777 : The Ground Cries Out
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Jeff Martain 777 : The Ground Cries Out

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Don’t get me wrong, Jeff Martin is a prodigiously talented and credible musician, vocalist and songwriter. A superb producer and performer too (is there anything he can’t do?). But when I listen to his output I can’t shake the feeling that a very large shadow of Led Zeppelin hangs heavily over just about everything he does. Specifically, in the drum sound and groove (for example, the drum beat from When the Levee Breaks, or slight variations of it, is utilised multiple times throughout this album), but also in the general tone and vibe. It’s a good thing that he has a much deeper singing voice than Robert Plant, or people could be forgiven for thinking that The Ground Cries Out is a lost Led Zeppelin album.

Anyway, now that that observation is out of the way, what is Jeff Martin’s latest project like? The Ground Cries Out is actually a sensational album, chock-full of very big, very strong world-music influenced rock songs.

Non-traditional instrumentation ebbs and flows over the top of a conventional three-piece rock setup, and is expertly executed. The grooves are fat, and the production is very big and very bold. There is power and there is atmospheric ambience. Then, floating above it all are the dulcet vocal tones of the man himself. Martin rarely sounds like he is extending himself vocally, but his voice sends shivers down your spine nonetheless.

Each and every song is beautifully crafted, and there’s not even the merest hint of a weak link amongst the 11 on offer here. Lyrically there seems to be a ‘natural world’ theme running through the record, with songs about the ground (duh!), snakes, rivers and mountains.

This album is a real journey. ‘Zeppelin comparisons or not, Martin is undoubtedly one of the more important creative forces in rock music today, and he needs to be taken greater heed of. It’s maybe unfortunate that his move to the most isolated capital city (Perth) in the most isolated westernized country on the planet (er, us) may stunt his influence a little. Let’s hope this isn’t the case, because his new album is crying out to be heard.

Best Track : The Pyre

If You Like These, You’ll Like This : LED ZEPPELIN, THE ETERNAL

In A Word : Riveting