August, 2001

Idaho - Levitate (CD, Idaho Music, Pop/rock)

In the lavish beast-like babysue offices there is always cause for great celebration whenever a new Idaho CD arrives. Levitate is as good as any Idaho release yet...and that is truly saying something. This album was, for the most part, written, played, and recorded entirely by Jeff Martin. (Guest drummer Alex Kimmel plays drums on five tracks.) The man is one of the most extraordinarily talented singers and songwriters of our time. And despite the fact that he receives limited exposure, he continues to compose and release one masterpiece after another. And while the public at large seems to be virtually unaware of the band, those who love Mr. Martin's stuff REALLY love it. Idaho releases are almost always exercises in restraint and longing melodies...but this album is even more extreme than previous efforts. The arrangements are extremely sparse and the vocals even more delicate and introspective than normal...but those unusual and unmistakable melodies remain. This is a complex and haunting collection of tunes that blows us completely out of the house. Thus far in his career, Jeff has done no wrong. While most folks are missing the boat, he continues charting unknown territory and exposing his heart for all those who just happen to be paying close attention. Great tracks like "Wondering the Fields," "For Granted," "Santa Claus Is Weird," and "Levitate" will one day be recognized for the fantastic standards that they are. RECOMMENDED LISTENING. (Rating: 6)

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