“Favouritism” is the full band debut album by Martyn Crocker, a Plymouth-based musician playing semi-acoustic rock with a smattering of pop-punk flavours in the vein of groups like This Wild Life. Crocker daylights as a secondary school music teacher, and to that light an appropriate and carefully directive demeanour is belied through his songs. Read our review below!
The album opens with a steady count; the first notes of ‘Abacus‘ are a repeated Garage band-esque acoustic guitar line. Although Crocker got his start performing acoustic numbers, ‘Abacus’ doesn’t remain in the same restraints, setting the tone for the rest of the album through an abrupt explosion into curling electric guitar riffs and carefully placed bass phrases.
The overall effect isn’t unlike a late-era Biffy Clyro cut, with the track’s backing instrumentation laying out a bed for some slightly forced mathematical-cum-emotional imagery. “Let’s just divide you and I in half” and “You’re not a formula that I want to work through” are not lines I would call a highlight in the release, though the song itself does differentiate itself from its lyrical content with a clear shot at an anthemic chorus hook.
2. Out Of The Dark
3. Wishful Thinking
4. The Places That We're From
6. If Only He Knew
7. Stick Around For Good
8. Hold Your Hand
However, Crocker manages to pick up the baton later on – ‘The Places We’re From‘ follows a familiar smalltown lament for those living in the southwest, in music especially, making itself known in its highrise chorus; “Can we ever change the way that we’re perceived?” has a lot of weight to it in Crocker’s delivery, and is a magnetic high in a song that still manages to convey itself sunnily.
Local resentment isn’t all “Favouritism” has to offer; ‘If Only He Knew‘ throws out some gorgeous math-y guitar through a veil of bitterness and wordless yells, and ‘Stick Around For Good‘ does exactly that with an earworm intro guitar line and dark chord progressions. Overall, it’s a solid first outing for Crocker’s backing band, and another notch in the doorframe for the man himself, one considerably above those of his exclusively solo endeavours – occasional hamfisted metaphors aside, it’s a pleasant piece of work.