Martyn Bates – Letters to a Scattered Family / The Return of the Quiet (Integrity, 1990)

Martyn Bates
Letters to a Scattered Family / The Return of the Quiet

CD Integrity IR005-CD (UK, 1990)

Letters to a Scattered Family :
01. On the Day You Climb Down
02. Snow Rages
03. City, All of Strangers
04. Little Days
05. Your Jewled Footsteps
06. For Love, Waiting to Die
07. Shattered Nights
08. First and Last February
09. This One Refrain
10. I’ll Wrap your Hopes
The Return of the Quiet :
11. Last Chapel Picnic
12. At the Return of the Quiet
13. She Will Know
14. You’ve Got to Farewell
15. July Late Afternoon
16. Sad Song of Almost
17. The Look of Love

Includes The Return of the Quiet Lp, apart from: Love Fell Silent / Etc. Angel
Recorded at the Cabin, Coventry, completed Sept. 1989

When Richard Brautigan, probably the greatest American writer of the last 30 years, died in 1984, all the obituaries could find to say about him was “The Beatles were fans of his”. Praise by association must be niggling Martyn Bates these days, as one half of Eyeless In Gaza who produced at least two stellar albums in the early Eighties, but are now chiefly remembered for writing a song that The Pale Saints named themselves after.
Last year’s “Love Smashed On A Rock” saw Bates on his best form for some while, a collection of magical folk-based love songs that became a much fawned-over item in Belgium, Germany and parts of darkest Croydon. On “Letters To A Scattered Family” Martyn has stuck with the same producer, Paul Sampson of Primitives fame, and taken the best part of “Love Smashed”, twisted and distorted them, and come up with something seven times better. This time the folk undercoat has been overlaid with a mixture of musical styles so varied it’s positively schizophrenic.
(…) Two things hold the songs in place. Sampson’s production on the last LP tended towards black and white passages of apocalyptic guitar not always sitting easily alongside pitterpat acoustics, but on “Letters” he’s blurred the edges, softened the joins so that the pieces fall perfectly into place. Secondly there‘s Martyn Bates’ voice while far removed from the sandpaper-in-the-brain wailing of early Eyeless it’s still remarkably intense, a compelling instrument. Simply, it oozes emotion.
Martyn Bates has carved himself a niche in music so distinctive yet so out on a limb that it’s hard to pinpoint who “Letters To A Scattered Family” will appeal to, There are links with masters like Tim Buckley and Laura Nyro, possibly “Wilder” period Cope, obvious elements of Eyeless In Gaza. But on a song as moonstruck, melodic and moving as “I’ll Wrap Your Hopes” there are no comparisons necessary. The Pale Saints are fans. So am I, and you need this record.
(Bob Stanley, NME)

FR Quelqu’un demandait du Martyn Bates sur un forum (pas une mauvaise idée), pas forcément cet album en particulier mais c’est celui que vous aurez ici. On est dans le versant le plus pop d’Eyeless in Gaza.
ENG Someone recently requested some Martyn Bates on some message board. It’s not a bad idea, so here’s some Martyn Bates.

Visit Martyn Bates and Eyeless in Gaza

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