The Fragments
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The Fragments


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"Local musician David Martin brings Fragments together for odd pop outfit"

David Martin is the first to admit he’s stepped out of his comfort zone by stepping to the forefront of his own band The Fragments.

But no, the longtime member of local roots-rock contingent The Ruminants doesn’t consider it some kind of triumph that his new act is set to release its self-titled debut tonight with a show at the Ironwood.

Nor does the understated and remarkably likable musician really think it will be some sort of cathartic, life-changing moment when he does.

Instead, Martin says he’s just happy to finally realize “his vision for (his) quirky little band” and have everyone else get a sense of the artistic side that’s been inside of him for a long, long time.

“I’ve had these songs stored up for about 10 years, some of them, and they never quite fit with the bands I was in. They were just basement demos. And the opportunity came up to sort of wrangle some musicians from these bands that I knew and liked and I was able to con them into playing with me,” Martin says jokingly, while sipping a tea in the Wild Rose Brewery Taproom (he’s feeling the onset of a cold).

“It’s come together pretty well and it’s been pretty exciting for me to see these weird little songs that I’ve had in my head for many years finally being realized to their full potential.”

For that it took just under a year, with the musician culling bassist Mike Platt from The Ruminants, along with Natasha Platt and Emily Triggs from acoustic roots quartet Magnolia Buckskin and fresh Edmonton refugee, drummer Victoria Orton. Martin admits the chemistry came together rather quickly with sporadic gigging finally giving him the confidence to put the songs on record.

And that process was even quicker and less painful, he notes, with the album being made in one day last December in local studio 10,000 Cows, recorded live off the floor by producer Dale Ulan.

The result, Martin’s vision finally realized, is an unabashedly odd and joyously weird, slightly askew pop record that reminds of such English eccentrics as, say, Robyn Hitchcock or Paul Heaton, and incorporates such far-reaching sounds into the melodic mix as bossa nova, music hall, disco, mambo, jazz and even reggae.

The songwriter credits the rest of The Fragments for allowing and following him through those songwriting idiosyncrasies, but full marks should go to Martin, himself, for not allowing those tangents to take the material from its intended destination.

“My idea is that it always has to be a three-minute pop song. It’s still got to be fun to listen to even if it is a little oblique or has a different twist to it. It’s still got to be fun to listen to,” he says. “I see them as pop songs — I don’t know if other people see it that way. I don’t know how to describe us. Quirky indie rock?”

A great deal of the quirk comes in the form of the lyrics, which, fittingly, are like shards of poetry, fragments of language that are, like Martin, pulled to the front of the material.

Song titles such as Manzanilla and (the rather Hawkwind reminiscent) Aeolian Respirator only hint at the songwriter’s approach to expression, with the album featuring lines such as, “The walls, the walls, the walls, have been drinking/The walls, the walls, the walls are drunk” — lines that, Martin admits, are as much about phonics as they are about offering any real insight into who he is and what he’s about.

“It’s not really singer-songwriter, it’s not really narrative stuff,” he says. “I don’t know if you really learn a lot about me. Some musicians really have their story to tell. I’m not really like that. I think I’ll come up with a strange idea or an image or something that pops into my head and I’ll build a song around that.

“Which, to me, it’s kind of freeing to explore it that way. But still I hope people think about them a little bit or,” he laughs, “scratch their heads.

“But the band gave up. They don’t ask about that any more, like, ‘What are these songs about?’ I tell them not to worry.”

No. Don’t worry. Because it’s The Fragments, and Dave Martin is finally and comfortably in charge.

The Fragments release their self-titled debut with a show tonight at the Ironwood.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald


The Fragments (debut album) can be found at:



The Fragments are the brainchild of musician David Martin. Despite having been on the Calgary scene for less than a year, already the band has released its debut album, landed a full-length profile in the Calgary Herald, and headlined at a number of the city's best clubs and bars. Martin filled the band with local talent: wrangling bassist Mike Platt from The Ruminants, along with Natasha Platt and Emily Triggs from acoustic-roots quartet Magnolia Buckskin, and fresh Edmonton refugee, drummer Victoria Orton.