Mike Martin is a player with considerable chops who started on the East Coast before moving south. He has played with various bands of different genres and released this collection of instrumentals that show his love of fusion and pop music. While there is no denying his chops, his compositional skills on some tracks here deserve special recognition. “Living the Good Life” is an uptempo rocker with a melody that’s instantly hummable. Guitar drives the song and Martin’s journey through modulations are gorgeous, calling to mind Larry Carlton’s more melodic pieces. The song also lets Martin show off his harmonic talents as he glides through a chord solo. The title cut mixes metalesque riffing with a loud, melodic solo. It also shows another talent of Mike’s, the layering of guitars. He likes to put down tracks that sound great together. And it wraps with shredding that’ll make you run for the hills. “The Trouser Trout” is a funky pop tune with more of that layered guitar sound that he has obviously perfected. His ballad work shows considerable influence from some of the finest popsters from the past on cuts like “Lavender” and “Salute.” And it’s not my thing, but there is no denying his shred skills on cuts like the ominous and brooding “Infection.”
In the liner notes, Martin writes that this record is his declaration of independence. It certainly highlights his strengths and skills, and should draw attention.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.