Did you know that albums could be split into acts? I as well thought that was verbiage that was exclusively used for plays but the recent album by MartinSoundLabs entitled Bargain Epiphany is divided into three. I honestly would have never know this if it wasn’t for the fact that I was told and I am still not exactly sure why.
Either way at nineteen songs the album is girthy and arguably could be a double album. The men behind the album are Christopher John Martin (bass), Jay Taylor Henderson (guitars/vocals) and Skip Hovorka (drums). Bargain Epiphany is an extremely eclectic album to the point that it almost feels like a compilation of different bands. The band attempts different styles and has more success with some than others. For an album with three acts not much feels consistent. That being said it gives the songs an element of surprise.
The album starts with “Saint of the Gutter Punk” which is a hard hitting, attitude-driven straight forward rock song that has an ‘80s vibe. It dances around the topic of drug use. Henderson sings “Endorphin drip/spilt on you floor/cartoon outlaw/can’t be ignored. Fills a void/in your life/a wounded boy/and a parasite.”
“Space Helmet” is a solid track. I loved the verse; the chorus felt a bit sloppy but the instrumental breakdown right after the chorus is money. One of the highlights is “Sangfroid.” The vocal harmonies are almost Queen like. They sing “Pictures of Steve McQueen/Startle happy dream/Distance pushing destiny/Do I have more to think?”
The first deviation that sounds nothing like that came before is “Lubbock or Leave It.” It’s an open spacious song that lies somewhere between country and Americana. The song couldn’t have sounded more far away from “Saint of the Gutter Punk.” The thing is that “Lubbock or Leave It” was arguably the highlight of the album. In my opinion it contained exceptional vocals.
Two songs later the band is rocking out with “Tenderloin.” Unfortunately, the vocal performances aren’t the standouts on the album especially the borderline humorous backing vocals when he shouts “tenderloins.” I have to say slightly better production would have helped even out the vocals. The band gets back on track with “You and Wiretaps.” It’s an infectious song, which gets stuck in your head. On top of that the lead guitar is notable. As the album progressed they were a number of other songs that stuck out. “Buried Alive” is not only one of the catchiest songs but brings up engaging existential questions while “Wired Required” is another deviation that brings funk into the mix.
The band goes pretty much straight up country on “Mojo Dog” that has a similar vibe to “Lubbock or Leave It.” As the album comes to a close the band revisits rock and even goes ambient and mystical with “True Blue.”
I find the easiest way to enjoy Bargain Epiphany is to just view it as a collection of songs. The flow of the songs is inconsistent at best and to try and conceptualize the nineteen songs as one form of expression actually takes away from the couple of gems they do have. I encourage you to spend some time with the album. It’s not too far of a stretch for me to say that at the very least there are a couple tunes you will be happy that you found.
Become A Fan
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook