November 16, 2001

Idaho - Levitate
10 / 12

Over the years and albums, Idaho has had more line-up changes than any other band I am familiar with. And yet, no matter who was in the line up, each album was overflowing with fragile beauty and intense power. Levitate, Martin's first time alone in the band, continues the trend with the same haunting melodies and intimacy that made the previous albums so affecting.

Given that fact that Martin was trained as a musician on the piano, it is little surprise that the majority of the songs on his first, more-or-less, solo Idaho record are based more on piano than guitar or bass. But don't worry, the songs still have the Idaho sound; uniquely distorted or effected guitars and bass with tight, precise drums that come in out of the songs, as well as Martin's mix of vulnerable and passionately fierce lyrics and vocal delivery.

"For Granted," "Orange," and "On the Shore" stand out as the best songs on the album, perfectly combining Martin's piano driven songs with dense clouds of ambient guitar distortion, rivaling even the best Idaho moments from the past. While I am sure the that the future still holds more revolving doors for Idaho, Levitate proves that even without the additional members, Martin can rise to the occasion and produce a stunning album.

daron gardner

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