CMJ Weekly

IDAHO Three Sheets To The Wind

Caroline, 114 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001 212-989-2929

On Three Sheets To The Wind, Idaho’s music moves away from the shroud of sleep-rock which covered it on previous releases. Lead potato, singer/guitarist Jeff Martin, has blossomed as both a songwriter and an all-around sad guy; where earlier songs were startlingly pretty, nothing was as earnest, strong and heartfelt as the 10 tunes here. Adding to this combination of gorgeous songs and Martin’s growing range as a vocalist is the band, which adds a melodic backdrop without overwhelming the melodies. The emotional depths and warmth of the songs are as strong as Mark Eitzel’s, and at times Martin definitely seems to share more than a few touchstones with Eitzel, but where it’s easy to peg both artists as unrelenting Gloomy Guses, it’s not true in either case. On “Pomegranate Bleeding,” for instance, the music takes a hard, fast turn which belies the generally mournful tone on the rest of the record. Even on the most despairing songs, Martin adds a sweetness that counteracts his woeful lyrics and lingeringly sad melodies. The most impassioned song on the record, “Shame,” also has some of the most passionate playing, with a catchy chorus which also features some of Martin’s searing emotion. Three Sheets To The Wind is a very personal collection of songs from as artist who has grown into a mature, thoughtful songwriter and has the band to back him up.