Martha Berner …This Side of Yesterday

Chicagoan Martha Berner delivers a fine offering of songs in her solo debut …This Side of Yesterday Berner’s voice strikes a balance somewhere between melancholic and dramatic, while reserving the right to dynamic expression. Her voice is actually the best thing she’s got going. The songs aren’t bad, in fact, many are quite nice and some are borderline beautiful, yet the album’s potential isn’t satisfied. There’s a folk tinge here that takes the edge off the album’s predominantly modern rock sound, but it isn’t enough to enliven it from the trappings of boredom. The album is too polished and conventional sounding to attract either the hipsters or the adventure seekers, however, it could strike a chord with the pop/folk/easy listening crowd who want something to tap their thumbs to on their way to the ski hill. It would be refreshing to hear something like this on the radio. With the right promotion, she will likely find success — if that’s the niche she’s looking for that is. (New Albion)