All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Martina Downy - Sign Post

Martina Downey – Sign Post
2011, Martina Downey
Martina Downey grew up with music in her soul.  The Paterson, NJ native grew up with 1960’s and 1970’s R&B and rock n roll, eventually becoming enthralled with the ever shifting glam of David Bowie.  At the same time, Downey became deeply involved in Gospel music through her church choir.  Downey has even taken to the theater stage, but her first love seems to be rock and roll.  Downey returns to her roots on her sophomore album, Sign Post, while bringing spiritual introspection into the mix.
What is most surprising about Sign Post given Downey’s résumé, are her struggles with pitch and tone throughout the album.  The opening moments of the first track “Close To Her” may well inspire some listeners to switch off and find something else to listen to.  Downey just can’t seem to find her place, but does improve as the song progresses.  She is not helped out by the messy, unfocused arrangement here either.  “Catch The News” shows similarly unfocused songwriting, although decent melodic sensibility does arise as the song progresses.  “Be Paused” meanders along without seeming purpose, although Downey does set a mildly funky atmosphere for the song.
“Hurricane” once more finds Downey displaying an unusual melodic sensibility.  From a songwriting perspective this is really quite good.  Unfortunately Downey’s tonal issues reassert themselves here, even with the relative protection of a recording studio there to back her up.  “Slide” could be a hit for the right artist, with a catchy and sneakily danceable under bed formed by sprightly rock guitar, synth, and some doo wop style back vocals.  Downey holds her own here.  The title track, “Sign Post” is an expansive story ballad that mixes philosophical musing with a meandering, drawn out arrangement that simply takes too long to develop.  “Tired Sick And Lonely” is perhaps the most intriguing composition on the album.  Downey’s composition is snappy and sharp, and you could hear this perhaps having been an AM radio hit in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. 
Having shared her best, Downey sinks back through the depths for remaining tracks.  “Like A Flower” and “Dark Caverns” are bland space savers, with “Finer Things” adding repetition into the mix just to keep it interesting.    This is one of those instances where a five song EP may have made a better impression than a full length album.
Martina Downey shows a distinctive, if highly raw talent for crafting intriguing musical lines on Sign Post.  Unfortunately these blazes of brilliance are often set amidst messy and meandering arrangements that do more to hide these moments than contrast them.  As a vocalist, Downey is certainly experienced, but runs into enough pitch and tonal issues here to make for an occasionally difficult listen.  There are definitely nuggets here worth tuning in for, but Sign Post will be a difficult road to walk for most listeners.
Rating:  2 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Martina Downey at  You can purchase Sign Post from the e-tailers below, or through the Wildy's World store.
    Amazon CD         Amazon MP3         iTunes

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