From JIMI HENDRIX’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’ to NIRVANA’s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ the authenticity of life’s doldrums inspired staples of rock greatness. With his latest effort, ‘Refugee’, AIDAN MARTIN adds his own flavour to a well-tested avenue of creativity. At play in this album is a dedication to the earthy tones of classic blues rock and eagerness to tell a story that hits close to home.
Each song has a declarative statement or a question that drive’s the album forward. Album opener and title track ‘Refugee’ begs the question “Where do we go now?”; ‘Waning Hypnotized Illusions’ despondently asks, “What now?”; ‘Get Together’ demands what its title suggests and from there the album seems to get into gear. From there the theme remains consistent through to the end with little deviation.
As story-driven as ‘Refugee’ is, there is an obvious reliance on MARTIN’s vocal performance. The vocals are clean, powerful, drenched with emotion where needed, and hardly ever fails to sell a line. Whether they’re laced with urgency and conviction as evidenced in ‘Leaders Mislead Us’ or they’re dripping with the resignation of ‘Tie the Noose’, it is clear that album lives through MARTIN’s emotive vocal performance.
Listen to 'Refugee' below!
The album’s even-toned aesthetic is a credit to an award-winning producer, Graham Ward. From high flying anthem ‘Never Forget You’ to the campfire reimagining of ‘Get Together’, each song is framed by well-defined instrument selection that is balanced well against MARTIN’s vocals. Nothing pops out at the listener throughout the album, instead, each component of the production slots in to help the album progress as one solid unit.
From top to bottom ‘Refugee’ is a solid effort that is well grounded in the roots of rock and full of soul. The album’s most endearing quality is by far its authenticity. MARTIN’s songwriting and delivery flows effortlessly and is immensely emotive. That said, there is no shortage of riffage that will get (and keep) heads banging.