ALBUM REVIEW: The Night Turns to Morning Light by Martin Lucassen

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Martin Lucassen is a singer and songwriter in the adult contemporary pop/rock genre, hailing originally from the Netherlands. After developing his skills as both a singer and songwriter over time, he found a method of sending his demos to production companies to produce the professional backing tracks to his vocals. This worked well for him, and in this way he has completed seventeen tracks, twelve of which are on this album.

He has a strong Beatles influence in his melodic songwriting, though in fact I would say his sound acoustic pop/rock is more like John Lennon’s solo music. His singing voice is strong with a tone that is easy on the ear, halfway between Lennon and Neil Finn from Crowded House. Opening track Come To Me shows his songwriting skill with a well-crafted verse followed by a haunting second section, featuring the words that form the album title. It’s a lovely song and a great start.

Love You From Scratch is more upbeat, with quite a funky guitar style. The chorus is instantly catchy with some playful backing vocals and its radio friendly sound would make it a very good choice as a single. Third track Love Me Right Now is similarly uptempo, has an even better chorus and some great bursts of harmonica, with a short but inventive guitar solo.

Break The Glass slows the pace down with more of a melancholy tone, the lyrics about a woman who finds herself is in a suppressive relationship with a man: “Living with a cruel man must feel as cold as ice, with fear of danger you see the sun rise…”. This more serious kind of song acts as a nice contrast to the happy, light tone of the first few tracks.

This returns with the fifth song Heart On Fire, which also has a romantic theme and the guitarist gets to display his skills with a lengthy, well-crafted solo. Again, this shows Martin’s ability to come up with consistently catchy choruses, which to me is the hallmark of a quality songwriter. What You Mean To Me continues the emotional mood, some lilting minor chords giving it a haunting feel.|

I Love You More is somewhat slower. In fact, I wonder if this particular song would have worked better without drums, to allow the deep emotion to show through more. It is still a very nice arrangement as it is, however. Do You Want Some Love is another slow ballad with yet another memorable chorus, though two slow love ballads in a row do cause a slight dip in the album’s momentum.

Ninth track Happy Traveller is a nice change of pace, about a trip to Norway, with some gorgeous acoustic guitar work throughout. The use of sparse percussion is very effective and the subject of the song gives Martin a chance to show his more lyrical, poetic side: “We eat apple pie in coffee breaks, swim in blue lakes…under the Norwegian sun, wine, beer and fun…’

How Will It Be is another well written mid-paced track, this one about a relationship that has foundered but recovered. The song is about being positive and looking to the future. Again, it shows his songwriting craft, I particularly enjoyed the chord progression of the middle eight.

These Are The Times has a slightly rockier edge than most of the album, a feisty song about seizing the day and making the most of your life. It features some great female backing vocals and provides a good contrast. The album ends with the autumnal melancholy of Beauty All Around. It seems to be about the love of his homeland, which he is having to part from: “Beauty all around me brings a tear to my eye, I’d like to stop and smile before I have to say goodbye…”.

Overall, this is a very well written pop/rock album that shows Martin Lucassen has a real knack for coming up with consistently catchy and enjoyable songs. His voice is easy on the ear and the overall production quality is certainly good enough for radio. There are a number of potential singles on the album and his accessible sound will appeal to a wide range of people, so I expect him to build up a large fanbase worldwide, over time.

 

Alex Faulkner

Verdict: 8.4 out of 10

 

 

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