Martin Newell is in this game for life, and generally prefers the direct intimacy of self-recorded home demos to ‘proper’ studio behaviour. Although to call them demos is to disparage them: Teatime Assortment spans a few years worth of this home activity, and show a genuine compositional depth coupled with a loose, of-the-moment feel. On Captured Tracks.
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- Teatime Assortment by Martin Newell
8/10 Hayley Staff review, 19 June 2015
“If you’re the sort of person who likes this kind of thing, then this is the sort of thing you’ll probably like” claims Martin Newell on the press release for ‘Teatime Assortment'. Which basically means, if you’re a fan of the Cleaners From Venus, the Brotherhood Of Lizards or just anything Martin Newell related then you’ll no doubt love this.
Described as a “Best of New Newell”, you’d be a fool not to. The British answer to Robert Pollard, Newell seems to have an innate knack for creating catchy pop songs in his makeshift home studio: fans of Newell know the story about him writing songs from a young age using minimal equipment; a sony reel-to-reel recorder and a 12 -string guitar to be precise. Even his subsequent cult success in the Cleaners From Venus and other collaborations he always preferred the demos.
Representing a retrospective of his career which focuses on four years of home recordings between 2010 and 2014, alongside his personal and career growth post Cleaners and an exclusive bonus track ‘Liverpool Judy’, ‘Teatime Assortment' is a compilation of these demos and tracks in their purest, unembellished form.
While Pollard is the sound of Ohio, Newell’s sound is always distinctly English, and it’s the psych-tinged, rich pop-leaning melodies that have become his trademark. Equally important though, ‘Teatime Assortment’ contains previously released material as well as unknown gems that he has been working on over the past five years, all of which adhere to Newell’s usual propensity for glossy pop (see ‘Wake Up And Dream’, ‘English Eccentric’) and more toned down, introspective numbers (‘St. Overdose-On-Sea’, ‘Dear Wesley’).
Throughout its 78 minutes, there are genuinely no duds here. Full of variety and all the usual gorgeous pop aspects that made us fall in love with his music in the first place, it’s the consistency of his songwriting – both literate and playful – and unmistakable vocals that make this yet another gem to his ever-expanding discography.
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