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‘But I’ve grown up, since you have taken hold.’

Martin ‘The Lake Poets‘ Longstaff rarely needs any introduction in his native homelands in the North East anymore. Starting out on his own he hit the gigging circuit a good few years ago, and in that time he’s gone on to tour relentlessly, recruiting a troupe of musicians along the way, and built up a strong following across the UK. In the past year or so he’s played a series of festivals, had radio play on Radio 1 and 2, sold out the Sage in Gateshead and played 4 gigs in one day last summer to boot.

What I’m trying to say i suppose is that this is a man who has worked very bloody hard to fine tune his craft, what started out as gentle heart wrenching songs sung in tiny little basements on his own, as cathartic to him as they are captivating to his audience, has over the years grown into a band on the cusp of something great. Finally, with the release of his long awaited Honest Hearts EP on June 16th, Martin finally has a body of recorded output to back up the buzz he’s been generating.

The first song released, the eponymous ‘Honest Hearts’ shows why Martin has spent so long under the radar working on this record alongside producer Mick Ross (Minotaurs, Soundtracks for a B Movie, ex- Frankie & The Heartstrings). For a man still only in his mid 20s Martin’s arrangements in both voice and melodies are finely tuned and matured, there’s a fragility underlining much of the songs intro but a steely determination hidden amongst Martin’s vocal delivery. Eventually this determination permeates the entire song, pushing it from it’s delicate start into an anthemic and rousing call to arms.

Whilst still markedly Lake Poets, these songs show that Martin and his band have (as the song says) grown up. It’s a risky strategy publicity wise, as he moves further and further away from the ever popular ‘boy with guitar sings songs about heartbreak’ but musically it’s sincere, it’s considered, it’s life affirming, and it’s honest.

Honest Hearts is out via Generator 16th June – Pre-order

Words by David McDonald

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