“After All” EP – Billie Ray Martin

5 stars (out of 5)

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After AllBillie Ray Martin has been very busy of late and finally the fruits of her musical labour are beginning to materialise. A forthcoming duet with Hercules and Love Affair resident Aerea Negrot and a new Jon Tiven-produced country and soul album are pencilled in for some time later this year as well as a re-release of her back catalogue including, perhaps, the mythical follow-up to 1990’s ‘Electribal Memories’. Preceding all of these though, is this intriguing and deeply satisfying cover version of an early seventies David Bowie album-track, “After All”.

A quintessential Billie Ray Martin track in many ways, this new single does hark back to a sound that can be equated to Martin’s old band Electribe 101. A constantly evolving and innovative artist, it is unusual to hear the star reference her own sound in this way and that’s not to say that this is in any way a nostalgic or indulgent recording; it is in fact one of her most vibrant and possessed for some time. Haunting and lusty vocals that are very high in the mix and sound as though they are being whispered directly into your ear, pitched backing vocals that sound likes crazed infants (and true to Bowie’s original in that respect) all set to a throbbing bass-line that was first established in the late eighties. It’s a little freaky and you can dance to it, a perfect combination and Martin has never sounded better – a truly virtuoso performer.

With remixes by Miijk Van Dijk and Caesar Gergess (Van Dijk gets my vote with its hyperactive disco cowbell), there is something to please everyone here. However the original can’t be beaten and this is much more than just a stop gap between other releases. One of the best things I’ve heard this year, Billie Ray Martin continues to shine.

As a special treat, here’s a link to the video as well:

Enjoy.