Rhiana Whitson for Melbourne Weekly
Canadian musician Jeff Martin takes himself a lot less seriously these days.
Martin, formerly of seminal rock band The Tea Party, says his newfound light heartedness may have something to do with all that Perth sun, where he has lived with his son since 2008. ‘‘The Tea Party was a very serious affair, but I’ve finally come to realise, it’s just rock music,’’ he laughs. The result, Martin says, is new band Jeff Martin 777 and their debut album The Ground Cries Out.
Having recently returned from touring The Ground Cries Out overseas, Martin says he’s glad to be back in his adopted home. ‘‘Moving to Australia was the best decision of my life … there is a lot more joy in my music now,’’ says Martin. ‘‘Perth is where I met two of the finest musicians in the country.’’ Those musicians are J. Cortez and Malcolm Clark, formerly of the Sleepy Jackson, who comprise Martin’s new trio.
Littered with spiritual and Sufi references, Martin says the album is one big journey: from the “violet’’ of The Ground Cries Out to the “yellow with a green tinge” of Riverland Rambler. Always unique, Martin lives with synesthesia, a condition which enables him to see music in colours. ‘‘It’s like having your own LED screen in your head,’’ jokes the musician. ‘‘A song will have a primary colour, but there’s a spectrum behind that song poking through. Everything plays a part in the spectrum.’’
This ability to literally visualise sonic layers has enabled Martin to become a gifted producer, with The Ground Cries Out his best work yet. ‘‘Sonically as a producer it’s amazing, and as a listener it’s just a joy from top to tail,’’ Martin says. And while Tea Party fans will pick up on the album’s dark rock ’n’ roll moments, a greater balance between Martin’s trademark “Middle Eastern inflected super rock” and a country-tinged blues sound runs through the album.
Fans won’t be disappointed by the band’s live show either. ‘‘Our mission statement as a band is to have fun, and we won’t stop making albums until we stop having fun.’’