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Album Review: The Martin Green Machine - First Sighting

The Martin Green Machine was founded little over a year ago by accordionist Martin Green for the famed Celtic Connections festival.

A prestigious and eclectic group of musicians who bring together such varied instruments as accordions, french horns and tuba. It's either going to tickle your temporal lobe or trigger your gag reflex, so here goes.

Opener 'Repetition' is a melting pot of sawing strings, jazz and guitar noodling. From a male saying, 'Hello, I love the accordion/ It is really a wonderful instrument with its beautiful sound coming from the reeds and bellows", then there comes a female chant and, latterly, a slap-bass funk out. It's fair to say that 'Repetition' is repetitious, and also thankless, really not lending itself to repeated listenings.

As far as musicianship goes, the record smacks of accomplishment. On 'Horse', a terrific sense of the dramatic stands out in stark relief, thanks to the talents displayed on brass, percussion and expressive vocal hiccups. But there's plenty here that simply doesn't make sense - and that struggles to make enjoyable listening.

On '23A', gentle guitar strumming hovers over a complex beat, while 'Quayle Paint' sounds for all the world like a funeral march in Last Of The Summer Wine. 'Rory' is tuneful and sweet, but the cinematic opening gives way to Scottish female vocal after about a minute and the whole meaning becomes lost somewhere.

'PSP' skips along at a fair rate, sounding for all the world like a 1960s TV theme, but again, leaving nothing but doubt where the heady light of realisation should be dawning.

It is hard to make a record which brings the listener into your world, of course. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

But to set out to make a record which is so wilfully dense, one can only imagine that's as easy as 1-2-3. Here is a nigh-on perfect example.

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