Martin Baltser brings us his debut album The Wasteland Incident, a multifaceted journey through his mind and his experiences through life.
The Wasteland Incident is an interesting piece of art. Danish singer/songwriter Martin Baltser has created a unique, yet familiar album in The Wasteland Incident. His emergence with 2017’s “Call Me Wild” was praised by many international music blogs for its creativity and his falsetto singing. Drawing many similarities to Bon Iver for his vocal delivery and folk tones, Baltser has been able to make his own sound by adding more electronic accents throughout the record. Many parts of the album show how Baltser has expanded upon his singing range and storytelling. Each song has a tale to tell, and a sound that encourages you to stay a while and listen.
One of the better aspects of The Wasteland Incident is the variety implemented throughout the album. With different works ranging from soft, acoustic music to cheery, electro-folk, there are ample opportunities for the listener to find a sound or style that they like. Songs such as “Manuel” and “Boy from the Stable” bring a calmer tone, while “The Wasteland Incident” and “Lie” deliver more electronic melodies, including percussion and ambient notes. There is a great sense of exploration in Baltser‘s approach to the record, showing his capability to be more than just another indie artist.
Baltser‘s created identity manifests itself beautifully in “Call Me Wild”. His breakout single, the track shows off his songwriting and singing prowess. The soft peaks and staccato accents in his vocals show the folk roots that he has sprouted from. There is even a fun brass section near the end of the song, bringing a strong distinction to the piece. Beginning with an atmospheric synth building into delicate guitar strumming, Baltser‘s falsetto presents itself and shines through. His breathy deliverance of the lyrics help establish a graceful approach to the song. “Call Me Wild” is a lesson on not being pushed into one way of doing things; instead, he encourages you to learn on your own terms and seek out your own meanings and experiences in life.
The title track shows a slight departure from the previous song. “The Wasteland Incident” leads with a more alternative sound, not only with the instrumentals but also with his singing. Baltser‘s vocals have lost the falsetto pitch for a more mellow tone. His ability to paint a scene for the listener is still very much intact, with lyrics such as ‘Now we bolt through the neon lighting‘ and ‘Like a truck into the wasteland‘. These lines help create vivid images that are easy for listeners to picture in their minds. The upbeat chorus is incredibly catchy and a great standout song for the album.
I have included “Boy from the Stable” for your pleasure as much as my selfish desire for you to listen to it. This song should be Martin Baltser‘s magnum opus. That being said, during my first session with the album, I did not prefer the song all that much. The track was nice and calm, but nothing really jumped out at me while listening through, so I just carried on with the record. It wasn’t until subsequent listens that I realized just how beautiful the track was. The concept of the song seems relatively standard: two people want to be able to love and save each other. It is how that message is conveyed, however, that shows such intense emotions. A vocal harmony used during the chorus is immaculate, amplified by the gentle but driving instrumentals behind it. The almost melancholy tone of Baltser‘s vocals show a tenderness not found in any other song on The Wasteland Incident.
Going into this album, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Seeing the phrases ‘indie pop’ and ‘electro-folk’ made me hesitant. I was worried it would just be another dry-voiced, acoustic record with your standard concepts. But Martin Baltser proved me wrong. So many songs create an air of comfort and sustainability. There are lessons to be learned and stories to be told in every track. His quick rise was no fluke, and I hope he can continue this trend on his next album.