Silver and Fire
Martin Craft
***1/2

Silver & Fire isn’t a blistering, heat-forged work that will leave you burnt but a warm, glowing album that may test your melting point for low-key pop melodies. It’s the first full-length release by Martin Craft, who grew up in Canberra and fronted psych-rock band Sidewinder from the age of 15. Nowadays, he lives in London, labouring over intricate indie-pop.

Silver & Fire took two years to make, partly because he’s a perfectionist, and because he was recovering from an electrocution incident that had left him - literally and metaphorically - charred. Such circumstances could have led to hard-edged, moody songs, but this is a melody-bright album. Sure, "Snowbird" does sneer at an art school poser who is a “coked up mess”, but that’s as cold as the temperature gets on Silver & Fire.

With softly-strummed guitars, handclaps, sweet female back-up vocals and other small-scale, endearing flourishes, he conveys a sound that feels quite handcrafted. In fact, he describes one track, "You Are The Music", as “a home-made disco song”, but instead of strutting over-the-top beats, it simply has guitar strums, chimes, and an insistent bassline.

Musically, this album isn’t radically new (Elliott Smith and The Beatles have been here before), but simplicity has an elemental charm.


Lee Tran Lam,
The Big Issue