FEB / MAR 1996


Three Sheets to the Wind


A remote, isolated and lonely place in the middle of nowhere, Idaho is far, far west of Dinosaur Jr and somewhere northeast of the Red House Painters. His (it’s just one man, Jeff Martin) new release, Three Sheets To The Wind, is a soundscape for the desolate heart. And you’ll only find one three-minute pop number for miles and miles in any direction.

With “If You Dare,” Martin plaintively begins the album with the sound of a man starting a long, lonely day. He immediately steps up the pace on second track “Catapult,” a straightforward rocker seemingly placed to make sure you don’t fall asleep before the album really gets under way. Unfortunately, it throws the album’s true strength — its simple drama — off momentarily, delaying the impact of Three Sheets’ emotion. At his best — on “Stare At The Sky” — Martin’s guitars wail yearningly a la Sonic Youth, and his vocals (which at times sound astonishingly    similar    to Spain’s Josh Haden) slip in and out of notes purposefully, an emotional tempest reminiscent of the Afghan Whigs.

Three Sheets To The Wind is driven by heavenly guitars and haunting melodies, and its imagery reverberates off a distant horizon. Martin seems a lonely man not afraid to explore the terrain of his own heart, wearing it not on his sleeve, but on his guitar pick.

— Monty Hudson