David Martel I Hardly Knew Me

David Martel I Hardly Knew Me
The debut disc from this Montreal-based singer-songwriter has been scoring positive notices since its recent release, and repeated listening demonstrates why. Like the work of so many Montréalers, it has a distinct Anglophile tinge in the atmospheric sweep of its sound and in Martel's measured and soaring melodic vocals. Fans of Coldplay and Snow Patrol will find much to enjoy. At times, I Hardly Knew Me touches on the art rock of hometown peers Patrick Watson, while songs such as "Save Your Complex" have a more direct thrust. Martel's striving for an epic feel occasionally overreaches, as on the excessively elongated "Stay In" and "On The Corner." He and co-producer Dave Sturton deserve credit for ambitious and interesting instrumentation, however. You don't often hear banjo and accordion placed within a Brit rock-style setting, but they are used effectively. Strings, trumpet, glockenspiel, flute and harmonium further contribute to the widescreen orch pop sound of many of the tracks. This is certainly a promising beginning. (Kindling)