My Grandfather, The Cubist
2007's majestic "The Otherly Opus" ended Joy Electric's acclaimed five-part Legacy Series with Ronnie Martin's trademark synthetics, beautiful multi-layered vocalizing and classic verse-chorus standards as a testament to just what could be done within a genre that has become increasingly non-organic in its approach. A year later, Martin returns with the shockingly sparse "My Grandfather, the Cubist". Stripped down to its barest essentials, Martin has taken a brave departure into stark minimalism following the lush abundance of "...Opus". Focusing on themes of art, history and Martin's personal understanding of both, "....Cubist" delivers a new perspective on Joy Electric's original idea of "songwriting and synthesizers only" approach. Martin's dazzling array of synthetic effects have now been pulled back to make way for sounds so precise, vocals so bare and honest, that the effect is almost surgical in its output. If this is Martin's "Blood on the Tracks", and it very well may be, than it's time for the world at large or small to finally lend an ear. Like all of Joy Electric's releases starting with 1994's timeless "Melody" album, Martin never strays far from the intent of that first title. These songs are melodic masterpieces, showcasing once again that Joy Electric is second to none when it comes to writing memorable tunes coupled with interesting and obscure themes. "My Grandfather, the Cubist" succeeds in starting Joy Electric down a new path, while still keeping those essential, original elements built upon for years, intact.