Sunday, May 8, 2016

John Martyn - Inside Out

John Martyn followed up his acclaimed Solid Air with the far more experimental Inside Out album.  Released in 1973, it opens with the relatively conventional Fine Lines, featuring guitar, piano and Martyn's by now patented slurred vocals.  But from the album lurches left with the swirling instrumental Eibhli Ghali Chiun Chearbhail, then left again with the busy strum of Ain't No Saint which features some incongruous tabla.  Outside In is what can only be described as an "exploration" via echoplex, and the wah-wah workout Look In is a bit tedious.

The instrumental piece Beverley is an improvement, with an acoustic guitar centre stage, picking out pleasantries over sawing strings and noodling electric guitar.  Folkier moments are not exactly plentiful here, but when Make No Mistake arrives it's most welcome, at least until it morphs into jazzier territory two and a half minutes in.  Ways to Cry seems a little half-formed and underwritten before the closing lounge-sax jazz of So Much In Love With You.

Although there are strong moments on the album, it's a bit of a mess overall, maybe a little over ambitious.  Most of the better songs sound like not as quite as good versions of the better songs on Bless the Weather or Solid Air.