Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Claire McKay, otherwise known under her stage name of Martha Ffion, releases her second solo album, ‘Nights To Forget’.
Featuring ten original tracks, each displays excellent musicianship and compelling lyrics. These cover a range of topics such as “politics, feminism, depression, David Attenborough.”
Ffion’s debut album ‘Sunday Best’ was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for 2018’s Scottish Album of the Year Award. For her second project, Ffion was determined to create “something more fresh and modern” and ‘Nights To Forget’ shows that she has done exactly that.
During the album, Ffion channels her influences, from Mac DeMarco and St. Vincent to Grimes and Solange. However, ‘Nights To Forget’ shows that Ffion has worked hard to successfully carve her own innovative sound through a unique vocal style and fearless experimentation with a variety of genres.
We are welcomed to the album with ‘Someone Who Cares’ – a chilled track which, like the entire album, fits perfectly alongside the atmosphere of a relaxing summer day. The gritty bass which enters intermittently is reminiscent of artists such as The Cure and New Order; however, the song maintains a prominent indie-pop style. Through the lyrics, Ffion expresses her longing to find someone who possesses true empathy and kindness – ultimately “someone who cares.”
The title track ‘Nights To Forget’ begins as a light, pop track. Yet, as we reach the chorus, Ffion showcases her ability to smoothly switch genres. We change from indie-pop to a striking grunge style, carried by distorted rhythm guitar and a display of heightened emotion from Ffion’s vocals.
‘Want You To Know’ transports us back to the 1950s, with glistening sound effects and a light percussion style reminiscent of the era. However, as is the case in many of the tracks on the album, the lyrics carry a moral message. Ffion repeats throughout the chorus “I want you to know, you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to”. A simple mantra, but one that we may find we have to remind ourselves of on a regular basis.
‘Rosaleen’ is a folk/country track, with acoustic guitar, vocals and brass being the sole instruments carrying the track. It is a tender song that Ffion describes as an “ear bath”, and it tells the story of her grandmother whom, as we can hear through the emotive lyrics, Ffion admires a great deal.
‘Nights To Forget’ closes with the serene ‘Don’t Let Me Go’. Like ‘I Want You To Know’, there is a clear fifties style flowing through the repeating guitar riffs, minimalistic percussion and smooth piano. Ffion’s angelic vocals are given room to flourish through this song, showing her range and talent. It is the perfect track to close this enchantingly eclectic album.