18 Sep 2021

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John Martin - Album Review: Zealander

14 Sep 2021 // A review by Corinne Rutherford
Wellington based Drummer/Singer and multi-instrumentalist; John Martin has just released his third album Zealander. His love of strong pop melodies and James Brown covers shine through on this album mingling with his uniquely upbeat sound. Zealander was just the musical tonic I needed to combat any “Groundhog Day” blues.

Years of playing James Brown covers has given John Martin's music a smooth retro pop vibe and has helped him develop his own refreshing, funky pop electronica sound which shines on this 11-track album. Album artwork was taken by John of a custom 3D model of himself “the Zealander” in a variety of spectacular Wellington locations, which is engaging.

John Martin has an era of musical expertise which has broadened to include the keyboard, bass and guitar. When he felt the urge to write his own music he could “barely string three chords together” however following the punk ethos of ‘I’ll just do it anyway’, John set out to write and record his music. The result is smooth vocals over well written lyrics reflecting his own viewpoint on life. Tight instrumentals and clean recording lend for an enjoyable listening experience.

Launching into it with The Best Song In The World with a strong indication that this was going to be some good nostalgic sounding original 80s synth pop recrafted into a modern 2021 sound.

Moving through Zealander, I could hear the James Brown influence was strong, particularly on Living The Dream, an electronic pop song with a good amount of synth, cowbell and happy vibes.

Track 5 Man Child offered up a curve ball, from the very first chord I was reminded of Talking Heads. More David Byrne, less James Brown.

Each track threw out a funky pop vibe laden with synth. I found Zealander to be refreshing and multidimensional, I heard tones of James Brown, David Byrne and even a hint of David Bowie on the last track, Put It In A Song. This album was like a long walk on the beach during a warm Summer day, it made me feel sunny inside. Which is what we all need right about now.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About John Martin

Hailing from the south coast of Wellington, multi-instrumentalist song writer John Martin uses his years of experience playing in a multitude of bands to produce his own unique blend of music.

Starting out in the nineties as the singing drummer for Wildside act Emulsifier, John has gone on to produce his own albums with his third and latest, Zealander featuring a video for the single The Best Song In The World. Several years in the making, these songs reflect John's outlook on life and a certain punk DIY attitude towards the label multi-instrumentalist as well as a new found sense of identity in this Covid world. The album artwork is a series of photographs taken by John of a custom 3D model of himself, "the Zealander" in a variety of spectacular Wellington locations. The album is available for stream/download from MeotropeMusic on Bandcamp.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for John Martin


Year: 2021
Type: Album

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