Drew Martin and the Limelights – Drew Martin and the Limelights EP (Unsigned)
In the world of pop music, it seems like it is dominated with names from the Disney roster, teenagers and older acts re-inventing themselves with softer edges. To find a polished finished product that was not pre-packaged by some super producer is extremely rare these days.
Go back ten to fifteen years and there were more bands than you can count in this genre. The Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Sister Hazel, etc. The list went on and on. Each of these bands, while still around and producing new music, has seen their time in the limelight reduced by the Emo and pseudo-punk bands that took over the radio for a while.
There is always a place for good songwriting and the sugary sweet cover of a good pop song. With Drew Martin and his band, we have found just that. On their debut self-released EP, we find five tracks of syrupy goodness and songs that will lock themselves in your brain for days. Each track has that combination of strong lyrics, nice melodies and a hook.
Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, this quartet consists of Martin (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jim Ivins (lead guitar, vocals), Stephen Stites (bass) & David Young (drums). The five acoustic-driven tracks were written over a two year period. The lyrics are at times uplifting and positive, and others sad and heart wrenching. Martin shows vulnerability, but also the ability to pick himself up and stand strong.
He has a strong side-man in Ivins to play lead guitar while also lending his ample talents to the harmonies to these radio-friendly tunes. Stites and Young don’t overwhelm on the backline, filling holes where needed, but let Martin and Ivins do all the heavy lifting.
Lead track “Calling Your Bluff” has that top down, hair blowing in the wind feel. The tempo is higher than many of the other tracks and gives the listener that feel of breaking free. With lyrics like “You may smell like vanilla, but you taste like cigarettes,” Martin is calling out a past love and letting them go in the best way possible.
The single “Hit & Run” has a beautiful sense and tries not to do too much. Starting soft, but building in strength, Martin shows both a sense of youth and knowledge here. The harmonies are beautiful and heartfelt.
“Bring The Light” is reminiscent of those late 90’s pop songs. There are definite Gin Blossoms and Sister Hazel-styled overtones. Imagine the song “Hey Jealousy” with Sister Hazel’s harmonic touches. It’s an upbeat tune that is in a perfect radio package at 3:12.
The strongest track on the EP happens to be the longest. “Just Call Me” may not be one that would end up heard on the radio, but it will end up being a fan favorite. It has everything you want in an acoustic pop tune: good guitar work, strong lyrics, a great hook and beautiful harmonies. Martin states that “it’s a personal favorite of mine. Frankly, it’s long because I had a lot to say. It’s about that moment of powerlessness in a relationship when both people know that it’s falling apart, it’s nobody’s fault, and all you can do step back together and watch it crumble.” If for no other reason, find these guys and hear this song.
The boys will be going up and down the east coast throughout the summer in support of their first release. If you get a chance, go see them live and support the small bands out there. They are worth seeing and probably better than some of those acts you will shell out $100 to see.
Written by Victor AlfieriJust Call Me by DrewMartin&theLimelights