Tried, true and new

I thought about making a stupid joke about Sheena Easton, but then I realized it wasn't entirely stupid. (Claire) Martha Ffion (McKay)--I would shorten that name as well--wanders through a variety of 60s and 70s pop forms, just like Easton's early work drew heavily from the 40s and 50s. But Ffion writes her own stuff, and the sounds here are quite different from Easton's "Morning Train," etc.

Martha Ffion
Sunday Best

Rather, this is much more reminiscent of She and Him, and Ffion's voice has the same breathy-but-strong timbre of Zooey Deschanel. The arrangements are much more muscular and less folky, but the comparison still stands. And Ffion stands up well.

Yes, this is a pop revivalist album, though Ffion seems to be channeling Dusty Springfield or Ronnie Spector (sometimes at the same time, which is both entrancing and a bit distracting). There's also just a bit of 70s country, though it comes across more as a bit of skiffle. Which makes sense, given Ffion's rambles about the northern U.K.

A lovely album. I can't and won't make any predictions about the future, as folks who wander into this sort of pop time warp aren't the most reliable long-term performers. But in the here and now, Martha Ffion has an album well worth hearing. Big smiles.

Jon Worley

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