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Silver & Fire

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Album Review

Martin Craft's full-length solo debut, Silver & Fire, appeared six years after the breakup of his Australian indie rock band Sidewinder, after finishing studies in piano and composition at the Canberra School of Music, and after relocating to London, England to pursue a solo career. Carrying traces of Elliott Smith and tropicalia, Silver & Fire is a singer/songwriter-type effort for the musician, who goes by M. Craft for his solo work. The album is noteworthy for the quality of its songcraft as well as its diverse arrangements. The title track, for instance, is a ballad that opens with acoustic guitar, bells, flute, and snare drum. Double-tracked vocals deliver a melancholy tune that compares lovers to the two elements. The Elliott Smith influence can be heard throughout the album but is particularly evident on "I Got Nobody Waiting for Me," which plays like a tribute to "Miss Misery" on acoustic guitar and banjo. Elsewhere, "Emily Snow" and "Snowbird" are among the tracks with elegant Brazilian chords and rhythms, the latter with a mix of guitars, full drum kit, and handclaps. Though much of the album is downcast, there are exceptions like "Lucile (Where Did the Love Go?)," which offers a quicker tempo, electric guitar, and even cowbell. Despite its variety, Silver & Fire remains a work navigated by a distinct voice and a wounded heart, and may be a must-hear for fans of contemporaries Patrick Watson and Sondre Lerche.

Biography

Born: 18 January 1976 in Canberra, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

M. Craft is the performance nickname of Martin Craft, a singer, songwriter/composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who split his formative years between Australia and the U.K. Two years after returning to his birth city of Canberra, Australia at age 12, he started the indie rock band Sidewinder, playing bass with his brother Nick Craft (lead vocals and guitar), Pip Branson (guitar), and Giri Fox (drums). Sidewinder would go on to release three EPs and two full-length albums -- 1995's Atlantis...
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Silver & Fire, M. Craft
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