October 29, 2001
Levitate (Idaho Music)
Californian Jeff Martin, the sole man behind the curtain for Idaho, has been refining his moody rock for nearly a decade, gradually distilling it into a sound that’s as delicate as it is wide open. “Wondering The Fields” opens Levitate, dwelling in minimalism only to untold in an abrupt rumble of drums and electric guitars that sounds like a storm gathering at the edges of the song. That tension works well with the ache and longing that define Martin’s voice, a sturdy instrument that manages to hold a note and stand its ground while still managing to reveal multiple frailties and worries. While some songwriters use this tender aesthetic to create massive audio downers, Martin’s approach is more impressionistic than woeful. Lyrics never rhyme: they just connect words, create moments. “Orange” is really just about running out of gas, but in Martin’s hands, the song is a universal moment of reflection; it’s the sort of thing that makes Idaho’s landscape extend well beyond the confines of the map.
— Steve Ciabattoni
R.I.Y.L.: Spain, Red House Painters, Mark Eitzel
Contact: Team Clermont
Tour Dates: New York (10/27); Washington, DC (10/28)