The Upshot: Staying power for a 10-song collection of indie pop gems.
BY FRED MILLS
Erstwhile One Happy Island songwriter Brad San Martin dropped his first solo album, Tell Someone, a home-recorded affair, but for his sophomore effort the multiinstrumentalist availed himself of Mitch Easter’s famed Fidelitorium studio and, along with his friend and OHI producer Pete Weiss, he ultimately exited the studio doors with an indie-pop winner. Shoot Tomorrow/Learn Tonight still finds San Martin handling a huge chunk of the duties, but he’s also joined by some estimable talent – guitarists Kevin Dunn and Mitch Easter (you may have heard of him).
The transition from lo-fi, low-key musings to full-on studio bliss yields such affable gems as “The First Few,” a McCartney-esque piano popper; the jangly, optimistic “Hey Everyone”; “Song About ‘Soul Finger’” which does indeed betray a deep love of soul on San Martin’s part, but with a peppy indie-rock/anthemic edge; and a cinematic, neo-orchestral, take-your-breath-away study in dynamics and texture called “Headstrong.” With introspective, probing lyrics, arrangements that swing between lush and intimate, and a general sense of slotting effortlessly into the pure pop pantheon—the Beatles and Brian Wilson figure strongly in San Martin’s presumed influences—Shoot Tomorrow/Learn Tonight is one of the just-closed year’s sleepers that yields rewards with each successive spin. Don’t let it be relegated to “last year’s stuff,” because it’s got staying power.
DOWNLOAD: “Song About ‘Soul Finger’”; “Hey Everyone”; “Headstrong”