JOHN MARTYN: Glorious Fool (Duke Records - Warner Bros.)
This sampler of styles is so varied it probably won't please anybody, though there is a little something for everyone. But that's the problem - it's too little.
John Martyn's imagination is stretched from basic blues and a touristy sounding Brazilian production to some truly interesting ballads done with a slow beat and spacey electronic effects.
The only unifying element is Martyn's incredibly flexible voice. Leaping octaves in a single bound, sighing softly with dramatic intensity, soaring, sliding, it becomes an additional instrument in the band.
At times the studio arrangements layer Martyn's singing into walls of sound that surround him like sheets of veneer in a piece of plywood.
His delivery is so dramatic that some songs -Hearts And Keys, Couldn't Love You More, and the title track Glorious Fool- can seem profound in their artistry.
Elements of avant garde and techno-pop also make logical contributions. The result would make a good model for predicting what Top 40 will sound like in 1995.
Not all of the album works, though. Some songs, such as Perfect Hustler and Hold On To My Heart are self-indulgent and superficial. Please Fall In Love With Me builds remarkable tension, but fails to follow through with a satisfying climax.
This review was published in the Tucson Citizen from Arizona, Saturday 19 June 1982. This was ten months after the release of the album. As yet the reason is unclear.