Album Review :
Ryan Blake Martin - Fragile ep

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Artist: Ryan Blake Martin

Album: Fragile

Label: Unsigned

Release Date: January 10th, 2012

Reviewer: Brody B

  1. It’s in the Pain We Grow
  2. Turn it Around
  3. The Controller
  4. Wandering Souls
  5. Fragile

Most of you are probably familiar with Ryan Blake Martin’s fast and furious fretwork in his primary act, A Plea For Purging. He first made his singing debut on the band’s third full length record, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. However, Mr Martin’s singing was kept to a minimal and nearly every time he stretched his pipes, and was usually accompanied by the howling of lead vocalist, Andy Atkins. With his solo venture Ryan Martin steals the spotlight, as it is simply just him passionately pouring his heart out with an acoustic guitar.

Starting out with the mellow opener, Its in the Pain We Grow, Ryan Martin show listeners a whole different side of himself to fans used to the sweeping and chugging guitars he’s provided for Plea in the past. Instead of having your banging your head, Its in the Pain We Grow will have you closing your eyes while gently bobbing your head to the steady beat of shakers in the background whilst Martin gently picks out chords and soothes you with the gentle crooning of his voice. The song even has an impressive guitar solo towards the back end to add a little flavor. The Controller, possibly the strongest song on the album, starts out solemnly with nimble acoustic guitar backed by bluesey electrics, dripping with reverb. While the music is impressive in this song, arguably the best on the record, the real focus of this song is Ryan’s vocals. With a slight southern tinge to them to add to the blues factor, I feel they really come across powerfully compared to the gentle guitars behind the scenes. Wandering Souls is probably the most upbeat song the record has to offer. A song that features rapid, upbeat guitar picking and some of the most poetic lyrics on the album, explaining how lonely it is on the road when touring, Wandering Souls is a contender for my favorite track on the “Fragile e.p.”. Wrapping up this short musical adventure is the title track. Fragile was one of the first songs release off of the album and one that secured my appreciation for Blake Martin’s solo work. Although the guitar work is fairly simple and straight forward, the vocals are what really shines through as Martin proclaims, “Fragile we are/ Broken from the start/ Forgetting who we are/ Fragile from the start/ Forgetting who we are…”. On a side note; I absolutely love the recording on this album. Although Blake recorded it in his bedroom, the vocals sound very polished while the guitars sound very natural, even to the point of hearing the strings buzz. This is just as an acoustic record should be in my opinion. Nice and intimate.

Although I found the album to be a great little gem, it is not quite perfect. My biggest issue was with the length. With only 5 songs clocking in at 23 minutes, I felt a few more could have been added to lengthen the playing time a little bit. Especially since two other songs (The U2 and Thrice covers) were recorded recently, they might have been cool to throw in there to sweeten the deal a little bit. Also, I wished a few more songs would have had light percussion or soft electric in the background the add a little more variety in the songs.

These however are just minor flaws in the grand scheme of things and can easily be forgotten. Pick this album up if you’re a fan or Plea and want to support one of their members, or if you simply just love acoustic music with emotion. Either way, I think you will be happy with your purchase.