Martine McCutcheon – Lost And Found (BMG)

Martine McCutcheon – Lost And Found (BMG)


In a thousand years or so, maybe a hundred, none of this will matter. Once the nuclear tides have swept away an ocean of consumer perishables – discounted beyond belief for the greatest everything-must-go sale on earth – the balance between nature and artifice will pivot and arc back in favour of the soil, where the distinction between Olly Murs and Death Grips will be so much shattered plastic. In the meantime, Martine McCutcheon’s got a new album out, so perhaps we should assess that before we get ahead of ourselves. After all, civilisations don’t always get to choose which artefacts signal that they were once here; for all we know, ours could be Lost and Found and a cracked fidget spinner.

If a temptation exists to succumb to arch rock-critic snobbery and write the whole thing off, to dismiss it as MOR sludge that would look out of place anywhere other than charity shops, breakfast TV credit-rolls, and Ford Mondeo glove compartments, then there are a couple of things we need to address. Firstly: yes, it’s probably not marketed at you, you with your tastefully curated exhibition of Korean garage rock and ambient industrial 12”s. I know you’re only here because you think this is going to be a hatchet job. You might be right.

But secondly, since when were you so fussed about target markets? Haim have carved out a critically respected career based on harvesting your nostalgia for gated reverb and Fleetwood Mac, which is a large part of what McCutcheon is pitching for on Lost and Found. The difference, perhaps, is that the latter often swaps out playfulness for earnest, adult-oriented pop rock: Snow Patrol, Kings of Leon (specifically ‘Use Somebody’), and late-era Take That feel like markers here. This is not just music; this is rich, creamy, yet profoundly unsatisfying M&S foodhall music.

McCutcheon does the job with a certain degree of aplomb, but only in patches. Opener ‘Say I’m Not Alone’ boasts a giddy, sky-reaching chorus (“Nothing’s as wild as my imagination,” she declares), while ‘Any Sign of Life’ ropes in bigger guitars and synths for a pacey rocker about, like, being alive and stuff. It’s no surprise that these were chosen as the first two singles, because they’re certainly the two catchiest songs here.

Regrettably, apart from ‘Archive’ and ‘Rebellion’ (the former even deeper in thrall to Rumours than the rest of the material here), most of the album’s remainder is devoted to the kind of emotional honking that would feel more at home on a Celine Dion record. I’m sure it was cathartic for McCutcheon, and perhaps there will be some who find their own meaning in it all, but it all just feels a little heavy-handed.

There are, indeed, signs of life on Lost and Found, but they’re more like distress signals than beacons of hope. If you wanted something to play while the ship goes down, there are more enjoyable options.

Lost and Found is out now on BMG.

8 thoughts on “Martine McCutcheon – Lost And Found (BMG)

  1. Random thoughts… top photo she looks a bit Boo-like… anyone who names their album after one of the best psychedelic bands of all time really wants to be Spacemen 3 good or f-off… she didn’t realise she’d named her album after one of the best psychedelic bands of all time you say? She can double -off then.

    And why? What is the point of a review unless it is going to entertain or help direct someone towards better music (or away from music that they would have otherwise bought). Not a bad review at all, but not that entertaining. Literally no-one on this site is going to buy it because of your review or not buy it because of your review, so why?

      1. What are the reasons for critique then?

        And – I might add – dependent on the reasons for having this website you might consider that your reader’s opinions of the reasons for criticism are more important than your own. [Obviously I have no evidence of whether I am in any way typical of your readership.]

        1. Well entertainment is one part of it that you mentioned, I think this review goes into a wider context of MOR music than just the album at hand which makes it more interesting than the record for a start.

          But it’s also a critique of the art itself, it isn’t just about whether it encourages you to buy the record or not is it?

          As for opinions I value the opinions of readers including yours, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with them does it?

  2. Bill – to avoid getting too narrow I post new.

    “If a temptation exists to succumb to arch rock-critic snobbery and write the whole thing off, to dismiss it as MOR sludge…”

    Maybe I am mistaken, but can anyone name a record that has been made by a soap star or otherwise mainstream tv star of the last 30 years that has had any merit as tolerable MOR pop, let alone significant artistic merit to those of us who like to rise above the sort of dross they sell in tesco? I exclude anything SAW related, obvs. It is easy to succumb to arch rock-critic snobbery and write the whole thing off because all of the available evidence suggests that one can do so without listening and without risk of missing out on something.

    And of course you do not need to pay attention to your readers – your site, you do what you wish, whether that is ignoring all readers, or just the arsehole ones like me. I certainly don’t give a flying fuck about anyone who might read my words when I write, other than working on the assumption that if I try to engage my brain, stay true to my beliefs and don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial then surely anyone who reads my words who has a bit of a brain has half a chance of finding something interesting or entertaining.

    I would happily read thousands of words from someone either trying to defend the indefensible (I am talking Radiohead post-Creep here) or explaining why they detest Yorke et al… but a critique of MM or any other MOR pop… seriously… there is literally nothing to say beyond NOTHING. I do not need to know she is still alive let alone that she has a record out. I certainly do not need someone to tell me that it’s a bit MOR and a bit shit… I could have told you in 1995 that every record she will ever be involved in will be a bit MOR and a bit crap, and me telling you would have added nothing to your life whatsoever, because you knew it already.

    My marginal nostalgia for Fleetwood Cack is satisfied by listening to (and quite enjoying) Tango in the Night once every decade.

  3. Tolerable MOR? Plenty to choose from:) Kylie, Jason, Nick Berry, that hot blonde from Neighbours whose name evades me right now. The market is there for this stuff, not necessarily my taste (..he hastened to add ..)
    Let the reviews carry on:)
    (Bill… I didn’t mention the lap-dancers Martine’s record company sent over)

  4. Can’t have it both ways Wild Eye. You’ve complained a lot about the narrow focus of GIITTV, too much indie/folk/Americana (and I’m with you on that, certainly the folk/Americana anyway), now you’re complaining because someone reviews a soap star MOR record?

    I agree I can’t see too many GIITTV readers liking this but I thought it was a very enjoyable bit of writing and so worth publishing for that reason alone.

    1. I am a moaner… and I am somewhat surprised you are happy to allow my moans.

      I suppose where we differ is that I would rather see more at the noisier end and the weirder end. And secondly I didn’t find the review particularly entertaining or insightful. To be absolutely clear here I am not for one second suggesting I could do better. Though sod it. I can try.

      “Martine McCutcheon has a new record out. It is called Lost And Found. It is offensively shit mainstream tosh that will sell only to it’s target market. Women who don’t really like music, certainly have no interest in it, and only buy their CDs from tesco. If you are one of these people then you are not reading this, and if you are not one of these people then you have no interest in this so every word of this review is utterly pointless. The End.” You can have that one for free, £50 an article from now on.

      Dead serious, if anyone knows any band stupid enough to give me £50 to review their crap record please let me know. There must be at least one arrogant singer out there who is so fucking thick that he thinks that he could buy me, or is so much thicker than even that meaning he thinks his music is tolerable.

      £100 and I’ll listen to it before the review.

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