Aidan Martin’s latest album “Refugee” is unsurprisingly filled with the boom of drums, guitar and bass playing music with uncompromising faithfulness to his blues-based style. As far as that style goes, it’s an absolute smash hit.
Blues, psychedelic and country elements all get their turn in what feels like a loving tribute to guitar-driven rock music spanning eras and styles. If you’ve even the vaguest notion of who Led Zeppelin were, you’re going to want to get into “Refugee” right away. Not only is Martin highly adept at guitar and vocals but he’s also managed to find two equally brilliant accomplices in Andre van der Merwe (bass) and Jorik Pienaar (drums) for a rare band synergy that’s felt as much as heard.
And to take it even further, there’s an undeniable mystique to way in which this album is executed, the same kind of mystique reserved for post-White Stripes Jack White. The rumbling rock of ‘Get Together’, twisting bass lines of ‘Never Forget You’ and monstrous drumming from Jorik Pienaar throughout make for an unforgettable experience that I’m convinced no one else could replicate.
“Refugee” opts for message over volume, dialing back the drive in favour of sincerity. The messages behind songs like ‘Leaders Mislead Us’ and ‘Get Together’ are ones that have been familiar since the ‘60s but Martin and band still manage to make it ring true. There are plenty of albums reveling in brash sexuality and self indulgence, a fact that makes “Refugee” all the more special in its pursuit of substance. There’s a genuine desire for a better world, helping your fellow man and challenging the leaders that mislead you.
This will be one of the best guitar-driven albums you’re likely to hear for years to come. Aidan Martin and his band have simply outdone themselves and raised the bar for quality local music to stratospheric levels.
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Listen to “Refugee” below.