“What It Feels Like”, is Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, Martina Armour’s debut EP. Martina has fused elements of pop, folk, and Scandinavian melancholy (as she calls it), to create a sound that’s slightly unconventional and at the same time, she’s used everyday instruments that her listeners can easily relate to. Martina, along with producers and engineers Alexander Williams, Ryan Cord, David Bashford and Randy Merrill curated this 26-minute-long album.
The album begins with a piano-centric track, “Knife”, that sounds intimate and nostalgic. Martina is quite conversational in her singing style, additionally, the dryness of the processing makes it seem like she is directly speaking to you! You may have noticed in some of my reviews that I occasionally mention lyrics that hit me personally – “..cause there’s a bomb inside my words, ticking loudly, still unheard” is one that left me spellbound. I’m a fan of Martina’s writing already!
Track number two, “Trouble”, is a melancholic love song about Martina’s past experiences. She sings about heartaches, but the lyrics show you she’s sung from a place of struggle and anger. In my opinion, “Trouble” sounds old-fashioned and like an old Taylor Swift song. A tight drum performance sounds great with the strummed acoustic and obviously, Martina’s not-too-processed vocals.
In a different sound than the previous track, “Everything,” starts off with a chest kick and acoustic guitar that’s pretty much still the same. Familiar elements in “What It Feels Like”, go a long way by being catalysts for a good listening experience. “Everything”, is definitely more reverb-y and chill, in addition to being well composed, tight, and easy to listen to! Though the outro sounds a bit stretched to me, Ryan Cord’s production makes up for anything and everything that I’m uncertain about in this album!
“On the Run”, begins with a soft piano loop similar to the intro and it has the nostalgic essence of that track as well. The buildup sounds quite interesting thanks to the remarkably played drums. It has a bit of a Demi Levato kinda vibe (post-Disney Demi). “On the Run”, is more conversational and has sad lyrics so it sounds “closer” than the rest of the album. Ends strong with my favourite line of the EP, “if I speak my mind, will you look away?”
Track number five, “Slowly Lifting”, has an amazing piano tone that’ll make you feel the pensive sadness in the song. Perfectly placed harmonies, that sound great in the stereo space, might remind you of some of Billie Eilish’s work. The rising arp is a great addition to the track and the blend of the bass with the slightly cinematic drums is also worth a mention – great mixing done by David Bashford!
Honestly, I want to get a hold of the acoustic guitar used in this album, it sounds so professional and is fits in quite nicely in the songs. The intricate positioning of some fresh sounds in “Storms”, the final track of the album, is what makes this my favourite one – there’s a lot of information in the stereo space that’s quite interesting and fun to listen to. I really liked how the song progresses to become a bit electronic at the end and flows right into an amazing guitar lead, a good change of pace. Martina couldn’t have ended the album better, the last bit of harmonies take the cake!
Martina Armour is still experimenting with different styles of composition and writing, and I think that the way she has shared her story with us, along with finding her sound through this album, is just incredible. I would enjoy hearing more from her soon, Martina has a new fan!