Martin Lucassen checks back in with his faithful on his latest release Nobody Talks About It
. Lucassen is a brilliant and promising singer/songwriter from the Netherlands whose music is a combination of classic British guitar pop, Americana, and folk music topped off with remarkable lyrics and melodies. Comparisons to pop giants Crowded House, Matthew Sweet, and Michael Penn come easily and are quite appropriate. His vocals are smooth, dreamy, and wistful, never overly dramatic, yet cool and calm at center stage.
Nobody Talks About It
finds Lucassen again in fine form. He has tightened up his songwriting even more than on his previous efforts and his emphasis on song craft is quite apparent. Lengths are shorter, words more carefully chosen, and instruments are more artfully placed this time out and a bit of a psychedelic influence is displayed and well handled. Lucassen again did much of the mixing and production himself and the record gets high marks for sonics. His guitar tones are especially luscious and groovy on both electric and acoustic and the guitar performances are of equally high caliber.
There are 11 songs presented here and each of them has its own distinct identity, which shows another degree of songwriting skill. The opening track, “Falling To The Ground,” is a driving and cinematic rocker, with Lucassen’s almost delicate vocals floating on top of the band. Many of his songs have that movie-esque, soundtrack feel, which is an attractive quality, and this one is seriously looking for a film to open. “Believed” is another highlight and features a strong mid- tempo beat and some slinky, almost funk-influenced guitar work.
“I Want You To Stay” is gentle pop Americana, with acoustic guitars up front and some sweet Hammond organ in the back. Lucassen is especially slick in the lost art of ordering the tracks of an album, and a softer song like this is a beautiful breath of air in and amongst all the electric guitars. The uniqueness of each song also contributes to the flow of the overall record, as well, and listeners don’t get bogged down in soundalike tracks halfway through the set.
All the songs here are strong and it is easy to get pulled into Lucassen’s world and drift away on his aching melodies. Other must-listen cuts are the Beatle-ish “Beautiful Thing,” the upbeat and guitar-heavy “Welcome To My World,” and the introspective and personal “New Year’s Eve,” in which beautiful melodies tell us of some difficult things that occurred over the course of the last calendar.
Taken as a whole, Nobody Talks About It
is another winner from Martin Lucassen and a telling step in his evolution as both a recording artist and a singer of songs. He’s clearly on an upward trajectory and is refining his writing and recording chops a bit more with each new release. It will
be interesting to see where he goes from here, as this collection is about as good as it gets in the realm of intelligent pop/rock music.
NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT Martin Lucassen Review by Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. www.mikeocull.com