Armand Margjeka - Hummingbird (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE sophomore album from Birmingham artist Armand Margjeka is an ambitious piece of work that underlines his versatility.
An indulgence of many of his rock influences, this draws favourable comparisons to the likes of Bowie, Beck, Pink Floyd and more while managing to sound distinct in its own right.
Album opener Move Slow sets the standard, dropping a large atmospheric beat and infusing it with electrifying bursts of guitar, as well as a dusky set of vocals. It’s a terrific entry point.
But thereafter, there’s plenty to enjoy too. Title track Hummingbird almost immediately changes the tempo, dropping the atmospherics in favour of a toe-tapping, laidback rock track that echoes the Eels, instrumentally and vocally.
Ain’t Me maintains the mellow vibe and is a solid track in its own right, drawing comparisons with Sea Change era Beck, while Castles has a classic vibe to it, complete with echoed vocals that have a timeless quality to them (complete with a falsetto sweep over the chorus).
A little later on, Baby Put That Dress On (We’re Goin Out Tonight) drops a playful piano intro before introducing a bassline that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Yello record. It then re-introduces some shimmering piano hooks and ends up sounding like something that Cohen or Bowie would be proud of – the deep vocals barely singing the lyrics, but uttering them in beguiling fashion.
There’s more interesting instrumental layering on If, which again adopts a laidback, deeper set of vocals, while Wanted To See If You Were Ready almost comes over all folk-rock and has a fuller set of vocals to usher in the reassuring vocals (“if you need a distraction, you know that I’m your man”). Again, there’s something almost Eels-like about it, not to mention Pink Floyd.
Hold On Paper Angel, on the other hand, rounds off the LP with a nice piano-backed offering that feels like a playful way to bring the curtain down – by which time you can happily reflect on what a good time you’ve had listening and (quite possibly) discovering this talented artist.
Download picks: Move Slow, Hummingbird, Baby Put That Dress On (We’re Goin Out Tonight), Wanted To See If You Were Ready