The Cloud Music (2014)
By Bob Marovich
Although Carla Martin has been singing for the better part of ten years, One Word is her debut album. Martin possesses a pleasant, power pop alto with a tight vibrato and the ability to get down into Toni Braxton’s lowest register when necessary.
All songs on the CD are original compositions written by Martin and her producer, Larry Wilson. Although the album opens and closes with high-energy praise songs energized by thumping drums, roaring guitars, and waves of electronica, Martin shines best on the tracks in the middle of the album, where the temperature is turned down and the intimacy potted up. The melodic ballad “Come In” invites God to enter into the room “and delight your heart” with the praise of worshipers. “In the Room” is similarly melodic and delicate, its free meter enabling Martin to describe the quiet but charged atmosphere of being in the Lord’s presence. While the two songs are not explicitly connected, they nevertheless work well together.
Two more leisurely songs, “Holy” and “Turning Back to You,” find Martin at her most vocally passionate, a worship leader on her home court. The title track’s hook-filled chorus and its focus on the power of the word begin the album’s transition from quiescent meditation to spirited praise. This pacing—from high energy to tranquility and back to high energy—has become de rigueur for P&W and live worship albums over the past several years.
The album would have been even stronger had it contained a couple of familiar selections so one could hear how Martin interprets classic repertory. Nevertheless, One Word is a fine introduction to her music ministry.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “Come In,” “In the Room.”