Formerly a creative duo, Idaho is now down to main man Jeff Martin. He promises to tour next year with a new four-piece, but in the meantime I’m content to savor the intensity and brilliance bottled in This Way Out (Caroline), a feast of subtle yet sensual lyrics, fractured melodies and guitar feedback. Definitely influenced by groups like American Music Club, Martin can also coach a lullaby through a storm with the skill of skippers like Neil Young and Mark Lanegan, occasionally coasting in the same meridian as Codeine.
Like Eitzel, Martin is adept at “enjambing” his lyrics, so the lines flow together in multiple meanings (they’re even printed over an ocean photograph). Martin pulls off depth-plumbing thoughts with the looseness of an indie-rock crooner—his ideas hover over the songs. Yet his cracked, cagey voice can sock you through the dreamy reverb with casual thoughts like “If the future has a story/ Then let it happen faster/ ‘Cause nothing seems to blow up when it should”. With eight strings (four each on guitar and bass), his wits, and an occasional piano, Martin pulls off a rosy thorn of record.