This is a review of "Repeating Mistakes" recorded by Martin Plock. The review was written by Jimmy Horrigan in 2013.
So many great thriving scenes in Leeds and yet blues might not be your first thought when looking for something new. But to hear how colourful this element of the city's musical landscape is you should start here. Martin Plock's music has an accessibility broadening his appeal beyond the genre's usual catchment but also ineffable authenticity to satisfy the purist. I'm no authority on the blues but I see its inextricable links to the music I typically go for. That's where I connect to this album - just as I did with 2011's "So Far". I hear old music being shaped into something new: traditional vibes blended with a contemporary relevance which, given the rich mix of inspirational sources behind Martin's own sound, makes perfect sense.
There's a wonderful consistency to "Repeating Mistakes". No song is weaker than the rest and all fit. I recall on the previous release the more traditional blues tracks stood out from the touches of modernity and that this sometimes hampered the flow. This time the lines between old and new are more blurred and his style more defined as a result. There's also more in the way of additional accompaniment which adds depth without moving too far away from its true blues soul. Besides great song-writing and creative fluency in the lyrics that is the staple of Martin's work, another hugely endearing quality to "Repeating Mistakes" is the other tireless and talented local artists involved. Scott Wainwright on harmonica, Matt Burnside on percussion, Kieran O'Malley on the fiddle (fnar), Hayley Gaftarnick with vocals and Adam Richards on double-bass! That's a seriously strong roll-call from the blues and folk scenes in Leeds and they combine to enrich the album's authenticity throughout. These are all established musicians in their own right and I know from a recent Q & A that Martin is truly humbled that his buddies helped out with such fine contributions. The quality of musicianship coupled with faultless production make for an effortless listen.
Fifteen tracks which result in no fewer than a dozen stand-out songs. No disrespect to the other three it's just that this glorious dozen are particularly brilliant. Among my favourite picks are "Everything is mine" (brilliant opener with the filthiest of guitar / harmonica battles), "Red letter" (dust-ball country guitars of attack circling overhead), "Hate the truth" (dark, Waits-esque misery / drinking song), "No pride no glory" (channels both trad. gospel and Prince in its call and response - something I've never written before and am less likely to repeat - listen... it's bloody brilliant!), "Tapped out" and "Sore thumb blues" (these will tell you just how good Martin's guitar work is - no frills just great pickin'), and "La la la song" (moody, ambling and slightly discordant beginnings breaking down into a romantic gypsy serenade recalling Devotchka). That's just me though. You'll find your own favourites. To hear the album track by track and to support the artist direct you can visit the following links where you can download the album in all the usual formats. Follow the guy on Twitter and add him on Facebook to hear about upcoming gigs to support the album launch.