Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice
By Will Wagler
Jason Martin is a frustrated man. You can hear it all over Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice his latest release as his musical alias, Starflyer 59.
Martin masterfully blends a variety of instrumentation into his mid-tempo songs. There’s some New Order (electronic drums, synthesizers, and guitar melodies) a little Air (stringed orchestration, vocoder), but at the core these are still Starflyer 59 guitar-pop songs.
Lyrically, Martin uses single, concrete sentences to get his frustrations across. The first track, “The Contest Completed,” sets the tone for the rest of the album: “For once could you listen to me?” Even the upbeat dance number, “Good Sons,” poses the open-ended question, “It’s taken such a long time, long time/ Can we ever get it right? right? right?” “A Lists Go On” repeats the discouraging line, “Tell me what’s the difference?/ ‘Cause no one ever listens.”
What makes Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice so strong is that Martin and Starflyer 59 also expresses their aggravation through their music. In the middle of “Easy Street,” it sounds like the saxophone and an electric guitar are having a heated argument. At the end of “Night Life,” there seems to be a full-on fistfight between a small orchestra and a guitar and drum duo. Neither wins, but then the album ends with shotgun blasts of sunbreaks piercing through the grey clouds. “Longest Line” sends up a million escalators to heaven proclaiming the hopeful message that it will all be okay in the end – “It’s all in good time/ So get in the longest line.” – (8/10)