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CD Reviews - Charlotte Martin
Charlotte Martin: Reproductions
September 2007
By: Lauren Jonik
album cover of Charlotte Martin's Reproductions

To release a complete album of cover songs as an artist already established for the strength of her own original material is to take quite a risk. But, Charlotte Martin has never been a woman who has shied away from pushing her own limits. Her latest CD, Reproductions offers eleven chances to hear her performing some of the songs that have moved her the most. Opening with a crescendoing version of Massive Attack's Angel, Martin sings with abandon: You are my angel / Come from way above / To love you, love you, love you.

Interpol's driving Obstacle 1 adds a touch of sensual darkness to the mix and is reminiscent of the direction that Martin's music has been traveling towards on her recent albums. Away from the confines of a record label that facilitated her full-length debut On Your Shore in 2004, Martin has been able to explore electronica, sometimes blending its touches with the piano and vocal style that she initially became known for.

Martin's vocals on kd Lang's Constant Cravingembody the sense of yearning that fills the song and is a theme that Martin's own music has often touched upon. One of the stand-out tracks on "Reproductions" is the cover of Sinead O'Connor's I Am Stretched Out On Your Grave, which laments the kind of loss that can't be let go of. So I am stretched on your grave / And will lie there forever / If your hands were in mine / I'd be sure they could not sever / My apple tree, my brightness / It's time we were together / For I smell of the earth / And am worn by the weather.

Chocolate by Snow Patrol is one of the more recent popular songs that Martin covers. A simple mistake starts the hardest time/ I promise I'll do anything you ask / This time. Pearl Jam's Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town is another that is instantly recognizable and whose arrangement showcases Martin's voice. Hearts and thoughts, they fade, fade away. Joni Mitchell's Urge For Going is beautiful in its observational simplicity. I get the urge for going but I never seem to go ..

Show me, show me, show me how you do that trick / The one that makes me scream he said / The one that makes me laugh he said opens Charlotte Martin's rendition of Just Like Heavenby The Cure. Martin's piano playing highlights the exquisite melody of the song. The album appropriately ends with Song To the Siren, originally by Tim Buckely. Gentle and radiating warmth, the song shows the other side of wanting. In the moments where we approach the object of desire with curiosity, there is an eternal knowing that only one thing is worth the greatest risk: love. Hear me sing, "Swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you / Here I am, here I am, waiting to hold you.