Greg Phillips Sep 14, 2021
Martin Cilia, Australia’s premier surf guitarist & member of legendary surf band, The Atlantics and guitarist with Mental As Anything has spent his lockdown wisely, releasing Everest, a wonderful new solo instrumental guitar album which is available now.
Life can be equal parts exhilarating and cruel for musicians trying to make a living from their art and sometimes it all can change in the blink of an eye. Take the plight of surf-rock guitar guitar aficionado Martin Cilia for instance. Since 2014 Martin had secured the lead guitar position in legendary Australian pop rock band Mental As Anything and for most of the year, the road was Martin’s life. In mid 2019 Martin had released his acclaimed solo instrumental guitar album, Shadowland, a tribute to his hero Hank B Marvin and life was looking rosy. Then tragically on December 3rd, 2019 the Mentals’ founding member and frontman Greedy Smith died suddenly of a heart attack. Not only had Cilia lost a dear friend but the band that he dedicated the last five years of his life to had also ended. Merely three months later the pandemic hit and pretty much every other musician on the planet was gigless too.
If there’s any silver lining to this story, it’s that the last 18 months have given Martin time to not only write new material but also troll through his archives and dig out tracks which had never previously been released. Consequently Martin has just released Everest, an album featuring a combination of new songs and tunes he found on old reel to reel tapes. Followers of Cilia’s music will note a sway away from his usual surf rock flavoured offerings and a foray into a more diverse range of sounds.
With Don’t Pay the Ransom, Martin delivers some tasty double tracked lead guitar lines in the spirit of 70s guitar bands like Thin Lizzy and Boston. Scarborough Hotel dispatches a dose of good ol’ smokin’ 12 bar blues and Hillside offers a nod and wink to the Allman Brothers’ Jessica. The Stryker and Fly by Night are straight ahead rockers, while Dance of Dwarves reveals a penchant for renaissance inspired folk. Perhaps the most surprising track on Everest is The Tunnel, whereby Cilia takes us downtown LA 70s funk style. Finally there’s the album closer, Farewell Mr Smith, Martin’s heartfelt ode to his fallen friend and fellow Mental as Anything band member Greedy Smith.
While this new album might be less surf-tinged and harder edged than usual, Martin’s Hank B Marvin and surf guitar roots are never really far from the surface. What Everest offers is the full complement of Martin Cilia’s significant guitar skills and a great sense musical arrangement.
Fans of Martin’s instrumental guitar rock should also check out Martin’s other recent project North Melbourne Surf Club, featuring local legends Tony Naylor, James Gillard and Geoff Cox.
To purchase Everest visit: https://martincilia.com/