Martyn Bates
Imagination Feels Like Poison (book/Cd)
(ASR 022, April 1997, Cd + Lyric Book)
(ASR 022, Feb 1998, Cd – the “full edition” without the lyric book)

Review 1

by Gil Gershman (Big Takeover #41, 1997)

“… feeding light to every thirst …”, “faded green/stolen time/blind and lost seasons/for love waiting to die …”, “this is the sea I ride like so many dreams” (‘Full Sail’) … Martyn Bates’ lyrics always read as superb poetry. His fiery and unrestrained romanticism paints him as a worthy heir to the legacies of Yeats and Joyce. This alone makes Imagination …, a collection of lyrics from the Eyeless In Gaza frontman’s solo recordings, an essential purchase. A Cd including sixteen new recordings doubles the value of this limited (expensive) artefact. Bates’ minimalist folk instrumentation and expressive voice are at their most sublime when given the spacious, haunted production found here. Every song is so beautiful and so exquisite; yet so fragile that it could be crushed by a stray thought.