Walter Martin’s Arts & Leisure is his second solo album released after The Walkmen announced a hiatus in 2013. Capturing a much softer and more comfortable sound than those produced by The Walkmen, Arts & Leisure is a delightful album for any quiet occasion. The albums simple acoustic strumming is complimented by his adorable vocals and heart melting lyrics. The way Walter sings about his childhood stories and adventures wraps the audience in a warm blanket of calmness and youthful nostalgia. A pleasantly played guitar humbly rests in the background of every song in Arts & Leisure. Lost beneath a variety of instruments at times, and being the lone sound at others, the acoustic guitar never leaves the recording studio once throughout the entire album. Another constant component of Arts & Leisure is Walter Martin’s unique voice. Not quite a warble, but pleasant all the same, Walter’s voice adds the perfect amount of youth and experience to the album that wouldn’t quite work the same way if it was released by anyone else. Arts & Leisure covers aspects of youth, imagination, growing up and self-discovery while setting a tone of positivity that can easily be enjoyed over and over again.
Surprisingly, the title of Walter Martin’s new album is neither a puzzle for the audience to ponder at for years to come, or a portion of a lyric that sounds good on paper. The title Arts & Leisure is actually supposed to be taken quite literally. The majority of the album focuses on the impact of art and the influence it has on a person’s life. Walter Martin revisits childhood memories of trips to the museum throughout the album. In “Daniel In The Lions Den” Walter describes how he learned of the rewards of calmness, and how patience is a virtue. Walter complements artistic geniuses and how we should strive to think like them both in “Charles Rennie Mackintosh” and “Michelangelo”. He takes the time to send a message to his audience in “Watson And The Shark”. In it, he describes how a painting of a shark attack developed his “first sweet taste of the magic of art”, and that a painting of a boy with a flying squirrel is a very entertaining thing for a child.
Arts & Leisure also captures the wonder of travel, along with the struggle of working hard, and the beauty of hardly working. Walter Martin’s Arts & Leisure is an album that can be listened to for hours at a time. His soothing voice and exquisite melodies are both relaxing and incredibly entertaining. Arts & Leisure is a must have album for fans of easy listening and excellent acoustic rhythms. It is the perfect album for coffee shops, warm background music and Jason Reitman films everywhere. If Walter Martin is an unknown artist to you before listening to Arts & Leisure, he is sure to become one of your favourites after you have.