Frontman with Joyce The Librarian, Martin Callingham steps out with a debut solo album of understated loveliness. Recorded at Bristol’s Toy Box Studios and released by Folkwit Records – and really, given our website’s name, how could we not have a soft spot for Folkwit Records? – Callingham’s songs have already crossed the radar of the Joyce fans at 6Music and could find wider acclaim.
‘Portland Square’ is comfortably the standout track, with Andy Norman’s percussion and Callingham’s own bass adding substance before a burst of trumpet brings the piece home. The brief, jaunty ‘Build Us A Path’ is another to leap out, the pair providing just enough of a contrast to lift an otherwise pleasant but samey collection.
Callingham’s voice is excellent and his backing band, featuring guitar and backing vocals from fellow Bristol native Tom van Eker and the Gentle Good’s Gareth Bonello, provide subtle accompaniment to showcase it.
This is not an album to aggressively grab your attention but in the right setting – lazy days, countryside walks or long coastal train journeys, perhaps – it is a perfect dreamy backdrop.
Words: Tom White