Review: Martha Ffion — Sunday Best

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 at 2:48 PM
Review: Martha Ffion — Sunday Best by Livia Homerski

★★★★☆

The genre of singer-songwriters, especially for female artists, has been making a comeback thanks to the likes of indie-rockers Lucy Dacus, Angel Olsen, and Sharon Von Etten. Martha Ffion carves out her niche in the genre with a knife of mod, 1960s pop and vintage mastering on her latest album “Sunday Best.”

“Sunday Best” is Ffion’s debut album, released on March 9 to Turnstile Records.

Ffion had previously released her three track EP “Go” on her bandcamp in 2014 and she has developed her sound into vintage indie-pop rock since then.

Opening track “Missing You” features simple guitar strums, Ffion’s vocals corkscrewing upwards through the chorus as she sings “Missin’ you, like I’m supposed to.” The song acclimates the listener to Martha’s small but resonating voice and 1960s influence.

On “Real Love,” Ffion discusses finding love in the most unexpected places and wondering “just how did we get here?” The song is done in a fast-paced doo-wop manner, with a chord progression almost reminiscent of “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys. The guitar is casually strummed and guided by relaxed drums until the chorus kicks in. The chorus requires some skill to sing along to due to the notes that bounce between high and low, but it sweetly sticks in your brain.

“Take Your Name” is a cheerful tune about marriage that also challenges the question of “was it meant to last?” The snare and cymbals create some extra jangle in the background like loose change, filling in another layer between the other instruments for a fuller sound.

Despite there being a song called “Beach” on the album, “Record Sleeves” is the most beachy sounding in the surfy guitar tones and plucky bass riffs of the chorus. The drums pound as she claims “If you ever need me, ask and you shall receive.” Whereas other songs are about waiting for someone else, “Record Sleeves” shows Ffion’s independence and support for someone else.

“We Make Do” is a stroll through a sunny park with the deep piano and two-thirds step as Ffion laments in a bittersweet fashion, “We all say the things we’re supposed to. I’m getting used to it, just tell me I’m good.” Layered harmonies in the chorus and bridge chime in with a lax attitude that things will happen and we deal with it all the same.

A folky two-step about lost love after a cheeky hookup, “Baltimore” pushes Ffion’s humor and songwriting skills into the spotlight. She reminds us again, “That love always gets you where you least expect it,” and thus the album closes with one last measure of music as Ffion wraps up the last syllable.

“Sunday Best” remains cohesive thanks to light fuzz on the guitar and drums, attackless bass and slight reverb on the vocals. This simple production and mod-pop feel from the Glasgow artist takes the listener back to a simpler time. Everything remains non-abrasive and cleanly put together, making this album a quick and easy listen.

Overall, Ffion’s retro flavor on “Sunday Best” is sprinkled throughout her taffy-like vocals and candid songwriting, and continues onto the soft candy colored album cover. 

Standout Tracks: “Real Love” and “Take Your Name”

Livia Homerski can be reached at musics.spectator@gmail.com.

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