vendredi, août 13, 2004

Album: The Martinis

The Martinis : Smitten, COOKING VINYL

By Andy Gill

13 August 2004

Joey Santiago's idiosyncratic guitar lines were the spice that complemented Black Francis's furious riffs in the Pixies, and a vital part in that band's ascent. Since they split a decade ago, little has been heard from Santiago, but now he turns up as half of the duo The Martinis, alongside the singer and songwriter, Linda Mallari: they have reportedly worked together since pre-Pixies days, which means Smitten must have one of the longest gestations in pop history.

Initially, Mallari's vocals seem a touch mannered on the opening "Flyer", which succeeds largely through the berserk shudder of Santiago's guitar. But things improve, with tracks such as "Right Behind You" and "Big Three Wheeler" being charming exercises in Breeders-style indie-pop, and "You Are the One" employing the classic quiet verse/noisy chorus format Nirvana copped from the Pixies. Mallari's lyrics deal with the pop staples of love, heartbreak, introspection and escape, all handled with a refreshing minimum of reproach and an engaging tunefulness.

But it's Santiago's guitar that gives the songs their character, whether he's dashing off some mutant-country picking on "Out upon the Road" or using his angular twang on "Wishful Thinking". A welcome return.

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

The Martinis, Smitten(Cooking Vinyl)

Dave Simpson. The Guardian

For the small but fervent band of people who were not smitten by the Pixies, the bone of contention was usually Black Francis's painful whine, rather than the tuneful twangs of guitarist Joey Santiago. Temporarily freed from his main band's lucrative reunion tour, Santiago has brought the bittersweet sound and style of the Pixies' poppier moments to the Martinis.

Adding a vaguely Beach Boys melodic lilt has resulted in a tuneful if lightweight collection of pop-rock. Alas, Linda Mallari, Santiago's wife and partner, can be almost as irritating as Francis, straining every vocal in an attempt for that Lene Lovich/Throwing Muses gothic howl. You Are the One has some vaguely interesting lyrics about control and Right Behind You recalls the more singable Pixies moments such as Here Comes Your Man. But too much is reminiscent of derivatives the Breeders, Veruca Salt and other grunge-era soundalikes.