Martin Callingham – Tonight We All Swim Free (Album Review)

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Jeez, don’t you just hate iTunes sometimes? No, not for numerous inherent financial/corperate evilness type reasons but for it’s annoying stupidness. I’ve had the new album from Martin Callingham sat in waiting to be properly listened to and enjoyed for ages but for some reason iTunes has decided that it knows better than Martin which order the songs should be in. You know that delicate cello-lead instrumental you wanted to open the album with Martin? iTunes says it’s much better at track eleven. Ok, now most of you are shouting at me that there’s an easy way to edit the order…I’ve just found it but I’m still blaming others.

So, we’re in the correct order and now a long-awaited musical treat can be fully enjoyed. Tonight We All Swim is the debut solo album from the lead singer of Bristol-based band Joyce The Librarian, although he has pointed put that this record involves more folk than the full band releases. Folk is a word that swirls around this release; it’s come out on the excellently monikered Folkwit Records and the album is a tender, understated thing which is, for the most, part acoustic.

My favourite parts come from track three onwards. Folding starts with a violin and cello and ends with a flute whilst in between sadness unfolds. Portland Square was an early teaser from this album that I played several times at the end of last year. It has a sweeping quality with cymbals swirling throughout the song before a trumpet-lead finale. Then comes Gliding which has had a decent almond of airplay on 6Music, mainly from Gideon Coe. Do you need more reasons why this a good song?

There is little argument that this could be filed under sad music but I’m sure most of us love a little melancholy. When I initially heard this (yes,in the wrong order) it was deep in the chill of winter and it seemed the perfect accompaniment for fire, port and hibernating but now the promise of spring is here with warming sunshine I can now look forward to a different take on this. Escapist and subtle, it begs for a tree or a river and solitude. Take forty minutes out of your hectic life and disappear into Tonight We All Swim, you’ll come out the other side feeling better.

Tonight We All Swim is out now on Folkwit Records and is available via their own and Martin’s Bandcamp pages.

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