Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Martin Frawley - Undone at 31

We have been aware of Martin Frawley's talents for about a decade via the Melbourne-based Twerps.  Founded by Frawley and then-partner Julia McFarlane, the band was one of our favorite jangle pop bands and, in our view, was one of the better bands in this decade's resurgence of Australian indie pop.  However, Martin and Julia are no longer partners in life, or music, and the Twerps are no more.  Unsurprisingly, such events produced a lot of thinking, and it seems a lot of drinking (familiar break-up ground for more than a few of us).  But out of it, the 31-year-old Frawley has fashioned the deeply affecting Undone at 31.  Consisting of eleven pop gems encompassing jazzy spoken word (the remarkable opener, "You Want Me?"), country )"Lo and Behold"),  indie rock (e.g. WYMA favorite "End Of The Bar"), jangle pop, and several other styles.  The arrangements are restrained, allowing for space and emphasizing the lyrical content, embellished by a piano here, or a bass line there, but rocking out from time to time.  Actually, there is a lot of piano, and it serves the material well.

And yes, Undone at 31 is a break-up album.  But it also is an album about finding yourself in loss, and shaping a life as maturing adult through the pain and confusion.  Sometimes redemption is not achieved by means of a big, recognizable event, but rather via the small steps of letting go, forgiving, and understanding that life doesn't require perfection or total understanding to go forward.  By the last note of "Where the Heart Is", we get the sense that Martin is getting there via the small steps, and will be fine.  As for us, the man's solo debut has left us quite impressed, and this album is one of our favorites of the first quarter of 2019.

On this album Martin sang and played guitar, bass, piano, percussion, and synths.  He was supported by Stewart Bronaugh (guitar/bass/piano/synths/percussion/melodica), Angus Lord (bass), Matthew Harkin (drums), and John Lee (bass/percussion/synths).  Undone at 31 is out now in digital, CD, and vinyl formats via Merge Records.

Bandcamp for Undone At 31
Merge Records

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