Brave Captain

The Fingertip Saint Sessions, Vol. 2: Go With Yourself

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Musicians are notorious for breaking up their own bands due to a disinterested public, a hatred for everybody around them, or not being able to fully explore their "always obvious" drum'n'bass direction. Martin Carr, however, chooses none of the above. He seems to have parted ways with the experimental populists the Boo Radleys only to fashion together a patchwork scarecrow of his former mates. Go With Yourself (The Fingertip Saint Sessions Vol. II) ditches the hesitant exercises of his debut -- a bit more acoustic stool-sit than studio disarray -- and decides to fully explore his ubiquitous, contradictory balladry.

It's unfortunate that most of it sounds like waterlogged Boo Radleys B-sides. "Reuben" is a student's thesis project on the Apples in Stereo, "Assembly of the Unrepresented" is carried aloft by a truly dreadful harmonica caw, yet just as strangely, tracks like the sleepily victorious "Hermit Versus the World" or the skewed "Where Is My Head?" (sounding like the Turtles' "Happy Together" left in a snowdrift to die) remind you why Carr simply does what he chooses.

Solo efforts usually imply a sense of re-awakening or renewed energy. Not here. More than ever, Carr suddenly comes across like a musician looking down the wrong way of the telescope, already watching his past successes in tiny relief. In the MP3 single "Running Off the Ground," he sings, "I have seen so many strange, wonderful things of my time." This may be true, but -- amazingly -- it already feels time for Carr to move on.

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