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Four years after the final chapter of the band Youth Group, Toby Martin has released his debut solo album. Brandishing the same clear vocals from Youth Group’s, Love’s Shadow is full of petite, observant stories – tales of disappointed travellers and forlorn lonely lovers. With song titles such as The End of the Affair and You’ll Never Be Mine it’s easy to assume that Love’s Shadow drips with melancholia. However, Martin’s approachable and versatile voice and warm, singing strings make this album a beautiful and mature production. Set against a picking guitar, The Curve of the Earth tells of a displaced relationship, lovers following each other across the globe only to discover the fickle nature of love. Persian Eyes is a tribute to the deflating flavour of unrequited love, while Happy Where I Am expresses the frustration and dissatisfaction of post-travel blues. With an REM-style poignancy band and contemporary, angular strings Postcards From Surfers comes from the novel of the same name by Helen Garner, that together with 1000 Miles From The Ocean served as inspiration for Martin for the entire album. ****