The words “blissful” and “summery” are used all too frequently in CD reviews at this time of year. Luckily, I won’t have to use either when describing ‘Navigation’, the debut album by Arthur and Martha aka Adam Cresswell and Alice Hubley.
Apparently, according to the press release, they have received comparisons to both The Postal Service and M83, but their sound isn’t nearly as full and evocative as either. The album sleeve contains a list of instruments and effects used throughout the record, but it’s all too evident that the pair are trying to experiment with a variety of sounds, so much so that they don’t seem to really know what their sound is. On ‘Follow The Path’ harmonies linger on for too long, as if they’ve found a sound they like and are sticking too it, while debut single ‘Autovia’ is repetitive to the point of annoyance.
Not to kick Arthur and Martha while they’re down, but lyrically the album isn’t up to much either, particularly on ‘This City Life’ which proffers the insightful lines, “Don’t slow down, hit the town.” It’s like the pair are pretending at being a songwriter.
‘Memory’ is perhaps the only track on the album that fits in with the synths and electronic drums and its catchy refrain and forward beat are delightful. On ‘Navigation’ intros and outros are dragged out with minor chords as if to create the feel of epic melancholy, but this track captures that mood without even trying. More tracks like this could be the making of Arthur and Martha, but for now it seems they’re just trying too hard.