The arrival of a new Martin Newell project, or, as is the case here, new Cleaners from Venus release, is always a cause for celebration. This album, Life In A Time Machine, out today, is another in a string of superb offerings from the legendary English songwriter. There is, frankly, no indication of Martin slowing down any time soon, and thank God for that!
If the title cut suggests some time spent listening to The Dukes of Strasophear, pal Andy Partridge's XTC spin-off, the elegant "Dandy On The Circle Line" makes one consider both solo Paul McCartney and peak Kinks. This is really excellent and one of the best tracks here on Life In A Time Machine. Elsewhere, "Dandelion Falling" echoes certain Robyn Hitchcock numbers, even as the more stately "Rainy Rose" serves up a nice blend of Move-ish riffs layered under Martin's plaintive vocals. At his best here, like on the chiming "Let's Steal A Train", Newell nods again in the direction of his most memorable material, stuff like The Greatest Living Englishman album, even as simpler numbers here, like "The Kensington Girl", stand as excellent examples of exactly how to do chamber pop in the 21st century.
Life In A Time Machine is the sort of release sure to please fans of Martin Newell and The Cleaners From Venus. Easy to love, and full of spry and smart rock, Martin's succeeded (again) at conjuring up an impossibly English sort of musical bliss, his vocals and guitar-lines carrying us back to an imagined past made radiant by his songwriting.