Monday, May 31, 2021

Billie Marten’s Blossoming With Her Latest Album, Flora Fauna

On her third album, Billie Marten, known for whispering her words and using bare-bones production, has picked up the bass for a new album that packs a punch. 

Her previous album, ‘Blues and Yellows’, was released in 2016 when she was just 17, followed by ‘Feeding Seahorses By Hand’ and now comes ‘Flora Fauna’. 

The melodies that made Marten still remain, however, backed by a solid rhythm section of scintillating bass and subtly powerful drums, there is a distinct groove to the opening track and lead single ‘Garden of Eden’ that burrows into the listener’s memory and sets the tone for the songs that follow.

A Yorkshire-born artist, Marten remains heavily inspired by the countryside of her upbringing and throughout ‘Flora Fauna’, Marten crafts a more societal album that is reflective of the changing world around us. In an interview with Lindsey Rhoades from Audiofemme, Marten explains that “I didn’t wanna be this kind of floaty ethereal waif anymore. I got rid of that person.” This is wildly evident throughout each song of this 10 track collection which uses metaphors in nature to describe her personal growth and the precariousness of humankind. 

On ‘Garden of Eden’ for example, she sings “Nature of the human race, everything will be replaced”, ruminating on the human need to succeed and be complete. A sentiment that resonates in this disaffected world where we are often forced to change before we are ready.


The third track is another stand out on the album. ‘Human Replacement’ carries a dark bassline with an equally heavy tone presented in the lyrics “You're just not safe in the evening, walking around, you could be taken”. Here, Marten paints an alarmingly realistic picture of systemic male oppression that leaves women unable to walk alone at night. This, in combination with strong melodies and curious sounds of prodding piano chords and grating strings, packs a powerful punch, a cry for equality in a patriarchal world. 

To complement this change in sound, Marten has also adopted a new vocal style, moving away from the hushed voice listeners are used to, characterised by a darker tone with a hypnotic edge, somewhat comparable to the vocal stylings of Billie Eilish. 

Towards the end of the album, there is a guest appearance from Guy Garvey on ‘Walnut’ that features textured strings and delicate vocal melodies. ‘Kill the Clown’ also begins with the simple strumming of the humble acoustic guitar, but as the song progresses, the instrumental is dominated by piercing and resonant strings. On the bridge, the instrumental falls away entirely, leaving only Marten’s refreshingly confident and assured vocals. ‘Aquarium’ then, the final track, is a gorgeous closer that leaves the listener on a final note of positivity following the previous nine songs that have touched on the rougher areas of human nature.


Staying true to its name, ‘Flora Fauna’ is filled with the comfort of mother nature and Billie’s gentle, angelic vocals lend themselves to the earthy tones of acoustic scenes that are depicted through this album. The expansive textures woven into this album allow Billie to redefine her sound, resulting in a beautiful snapshot capturing the full scope of her art.


Jasmin Davies


Image: Flora Fauna Official Album Artwork

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