Review: Kristen Martell's Coming Home will heal you

The Mahone Bay singer-songwriter's debut album brings the mellow.

click to enlarge Kristen Martell is helping you through COVID-19 by playing a regular Tuesday night livestream at 10pm on Facebook and Instagram live. Tonight, she plays her 10th quarentine performance. - KRISTENMARTELL.COM PHOTO
kristenmartell.com photo
Kristen Martell is helping you through COVID-19 by playing a regular Tuesday night livestream at 10pm on Facebook and Instagram live. Tonight, she plays her 10th quarentine performance.
Kristen Martell wants you to breathe. And you will, after listening to her latest EP, Coming Home.


It’s an album with all the warmth of a summer sun which shines through acoustic pop that’s bright and hopeful — without sacrificing meaningful, insightful lyrics.

The Mahone bay songwriter crafts her tunes in a reflective, introspective style—much like Gabrielle Papillon and Rose Cousins: Peaceful reflections of the way things are, the ways things have changed. Her songs explore the self, and the way we walk through life.

Tracks “We Learn” and “Ain’t No Obstacle” reflect on the lessons learned — “We Bleed, we burn, We live we learn,” sings Martell with a soft voice that brims with depth (and will make a fan out of any Alanis Morissette-lovin' ears on contact). “Fade away” and “Breathe” are almost meditative in the way she encourages finding peace in the present — in what we can control.


There’s ample comfort to be found here, amidst songs that rarely challenge us with in-depth or personal anecdotes, but rather flow with encouragement and earnest care. “Where’s your voice? Where’s your heart?” Martell asks, above guitar—acoustic and electric—and resonant drums that underscore her songwriting, rather than propel it forward.

She flirts with blues and americana in “Ain’t No Obstacle,” and pulls it off: The song is a declaration of power over her past and present, delivered in a strong and resonant voice.

But above all, this is a talented and insightful songwriter that cares—and cares deeply—for those she sings to, inviting us to consider how we view ourselves: “Can we share the space,” she asks, “and take a deep breath. And look straight ahead at the sun while it sets.”

Breathe out, pull up a chair and listen. Martell has lots to share.

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