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There’s a beautiful stability to Charlie Martin’s songwriting. Throughout his first solo album, Imaginary People, Martin never strays far from a wistful type of tender storytelling. It’s the same sentiment heard throughout his records as part of the duo Hovvdy (alongside Will Taylor).

Imaginary People is Martin’s first solo album and combines relaxed indie pop with stories of imaginary and real characters. Songs with names like “Daisy,” “Madison,” “June,” and “Scott” paint impressionist vignettes of friends from childhood, family, neighbors, and romantic interests. Through the record characters like “Mr. Heavy” also ebb and flow through the stories, and though it’s not a straightforward concept album, these threads create an added density. Songs like “September”—an uplifting jaunt on artistic, radical self-optimism—contain real-life references like Martin’s September birthday.

Give this album enough time and you’ll be rewarded: a sprawling work with real emotional depth that just happens to be easy-listening.

Written by Ryan Ellis

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