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CD REVIEW: Waiting for Martin by Water Street

The debut release from the New Jersey based five piece Water Street is one of the best well-rounded musical efforts emerging from the indie scene in recent memory. They’ve written ten original songs that never feel hidebound to any particular genre and, instead, show the fleet footed confidence to move liberally between multiple forms without ever growing shaky or uncertain. The band is very much a family affair; multi-instrumentalist Milly Paulson joins her brother and vocalist/guitarist Dave while the band’s other Dave, Dave McNulty, plays saxophone alongside his singer/guitarist/pianist daughter Claire. Drummer Connor Konecnik completes the unit. Naturally, these close connections strengthen the band’s cohesion and chemistry. There are no virtuoso egos in the band despite their obvious individual facility and, instead, Water Street never fails to play as one.

Connor Konecnik makes his presence felt on the first song. “Better Off Alone” benefits tremendously from his swinging, muscular drumming. It sets an authoritative tone from the outset and never grows tired. Paulson’s guitar fills have just the right amount of effects laid over it for just a little more bite and his timing proves quite impeccable. Claire McNulty belts out quite a convincing vocal on the album’s second track “Tidal Wave”. The pace is much more furious than the first song, but McNulty confidently navigates its numerous twists and turns without betraying a hint of exhaustion. She even spits the lyrics out with an urgency that Paulson can’t quite muster. McNulty is definitely the more traditionally bluesy of the two and attacks the song with the swaggering confidence. Water Street returns, in part, to the groove oriented approach featured on the first song, but it doesn’t feature quite the same sort of vocal as before. Instead, McNulty joins Paulson in harmony at a number of key points and their unique meshing of voices is really quite effective.

“Foul Play” is one of the album’s darkest moments and an unquestionable artistic peak. It is a moody, piano driven piece with a spectacularly emotive vocal from Claire McNulty. Paulson joins in for some discreet harmony vocals, but this is really McNulty’s tour de force as a singer and the lyrics give her a fantastic text to work from. “Something Anything” is a surprising turn thanks to its barrelhouse, old-timey piano work coupled with precise and powerful rock drumming. McNulty’s playful vocal is the final flavor added to this delicious concoction. It’s a mark of true talent that Water Street can steer their music in such a retro direction while continuing to retain such a modern sound. One of the album’s later tracks, “Maybe”, is imbued with magnificent stateliness – Paulson’s deeply felt vocal and McNulty’s lyrical accompaniment on piano are well matched on this meditative tune. The finale, “Colors”, banishes the dark clouds casting shadows over much of the album and ends Waiting for Martin on a conciliatory note. The airy, bright sounding instrumentation has considerable bounce and Paulson’s vocal has a welcoming hue that makes for a satisfying ending.

SOUNDCLOUD: http://soundcloud.com/waterstreet

by Lydia Hillenburg

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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One comment

  1. This is an amazing group of incredibly talented musicians. A must see!

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