Judging by David Martel’s debut for Jake Gold’s Kindling Music label, you might guess that the Montreal native made his career choice in music the day he bought a Jeff Buckley record. His soaring, histrionic vocals reverberate throughout I Hardly Knew Me, sometimes working cohesively with his and Nicholas Williams’s large orch-pop arrangements.
At other times, you can tell his songs weren’t written with quite so much orchestration in mind. In fact, you could charge Martel and Nicholas with going slightly overboard, crowding the studio with oboe players and glockenspiels when a more stripped-down approach might have worked better.
But that’s not Montreal’s style these days. Still, Martel has intuitive songwriting talents, as you can hear on the toned-down, Iron and Wine-style The Good Lord and the swaying softie On The Corner.
David Martel plays the Rivoli Friday (July 11).