Album review: Songs of Death and Love | Martyn Roper

Image description: CD cover featuring bold text reading “Songs of Death and Love, Martyn Roper” is held up against a backdrop of snow during sunset.

I found this musician on Instagram because of the graveyard blues =aesthetic= (which… if you’re into that, just go to his Instagram right now). 

But I soon discovered it wasn’t just the look of the graveyard blues but the sound… Just climbed into my soul. I felt it in my bones. 

Truly this is the perfect soundtrack for my writing about love and death (such as the title of the album might have indicated). 

The album is not dreary. Most of the songs are faster paced, toe tapping tunes. Some with lighter tones and others with darker tones. Some are surprisingly sweet, like “White Flowers in a Picture Frame.” In an album about death I first assumed such a title would be terribly sad, but my assumption was incorrect. 

Now, some of the songs are sad. “Mothers Gone Away” is sad. THAT title matches what I thought it would be about. And “I Will Always Go Home” made me ugly cry… but I had to get it out. 

The ending track “Tread Lightly as You Leave” sounds the most contemporary/”pop” to me and also sort of makes me want to cry. But I can turn it up really loud and transcend that initial feeling. There’s an aura of beauty and hope in even the painful songs. 

My favorite track is the first one “Dark Spirits.” It’s not toe tapping. It’s heel stomping. And a guttural experience that I’ve had on repeat for about a week. I won’t delve too deep, but I’m getting some stuff out with that as well. 

This music found me at the perfect time in my life as I turn my creative attention toward exploring love and death. You can get the album here. 

Image description: CD case set open on a wood rail in the wintery outdoors showing an image of the musician holding a guitar.


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