Cumbrian songwriter and poet Martin Wardley offers a thought-provoking exploration of loss and hope on album, Naked To The Elements, a 10-track collection rooted in story-telling folk sensibilities. Tapping into his penchant for realistic romanticism, the album weaves tales that are tinged with as much optimism as melancholia, laid on a rich mix of punk, folk, electronic, surf rock and more.
An intimate, emotive wash of “Resurrecting the Show," opens the production as Wardley delves into a deep contemplation tinged with hope, led by his deep vocals and soft instrumentation. Moving from the hazy tale of starting anew on “Make This Count,” to questioning loss and death on the intimate and arrangement on “Thrice Times,” Wardley pulls us into a soothing soundscape framed by lyrical nuances.
Showcasing his mastery of poetry on gentle guitar-led offering “Beautiful Lost Afternoon,” and slow-build, stand-out track “On Broken Glass,” to the piano-driven stylings of “Out Beyond The Star,” the rising musician brings alive uplifting melodies grounded by trademark contemplative song writing. Giving us a glimpse of his sonic versatility, he shifts away from his predominant folk sound on the indie rock influences of “She Walks Alone,” before sampling Americana sounds on “No Doubt.”
The anthemic rock style of “No One Watching closes off the album, ending on beat-heavy, celebratory vibes, proving his ability to balance introspective darkness with joyful light. Rooted equally in hope and genuine thoughts of the world we live, the album takes the darker aspects of life infusing it with much-needed positivity, as the Kendal-based singer-songwriter places the bright side of light against the chaos on 2020 as well as the wider inevitability of life.
Drawing from the stories and experiences that live around him,Martin Wardley’s music is a comforting yet down-to-earth sonic nook for us to escape into. Muted and mature, yet vibrant and carefree, Naked To The Elements is honest, personal and expansive.