County Durham’s DIY punks and melodic racket-makers, Martha, are back with their third album, Love Keeps Kicking. On this album, they want to fight back against the increased visibility of fascism whilst our world spirals down the plughole. The album also deals with heartbreak and the bit afterwards where you get over it. A big dose of noisy positivity.
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"Martha have already made a case for themselves as this generation’s Buzzcocks (if not this generation’s Clash)" says the press release rather optimistically. Now, I know people need to sell records and I'm sure the record label are very excited about this new album but.. come on. I don't need to tell you that those two bands helped change the very landscape of music with groundbreaking and universally popular records. Martha are a pop-punk group from Pity Me with a healthy but comparitively small fanbase.
The press release also outlines the bands intention to fight back against fascists, demagogues, abusers, and hypocrites - all very commendable - but they do this by sounding like a sort of Northern English take on the perky Californian punk of Green Day and NOFX and their main lyrical concerns are about personal relationships rather than anything thought provoking. It's relentlessly chirpy and upbeat and.. yes... very very catchy particularly on Sight For Sore Eyes with its layered harmonies and buzzsaw guitars. Martha write almost relentlessly about the minutiae of relationships - theirs is a kind of kitchen sink melancholy that sits at odds perhaps with their high octane delivery. On Into This a tiny voice squeaks "when I found you playing guitar in my bedroom, you were sat on my bed when you asked me to come over, you gave me a look that you wouldn't give me when you are sober...". Joe Strummer, this isn't.
But really this is just unpretentious pop punk with nary an interest in any musical development in anything past the usual three major chords. Surely a blast live, what they lack in any form of sophistication (and I understand that punk rock is normally as sophisticated as a roll of carpet) they make up with fun ear friendly choruses that serve as an escape from rather than an answer to the world's problems.
6/10 Richard Customer review, 2nd May 2019
This a very pop punk album. Clinton is right to dismiss claims that they are this generations Clash, which seems hype of the most ridiculous kind. The albums seems to be focused mainly on the issue of break ups and relationships, opener 'Heart Is Healing' being a classic example of this. It's pretty damn catchy, although I find the vocals a bit whiny. Maybe that's part of the problem for me. I was hoping for some urgency, especially as the band are considered pretty political in their output. Unless you really paid attention to the lyrics you aren't going to pick up any inkling of a political stance here, and even then most tracks are about broken hearts. There is no doubt that it sounded like a lot of fun to record, and will appeal to those who want a straight forward pop-punk record to lift their spirits, but to these ears it's all a bit samey and in the more intense numbers reminds me more of a anti-sexist version of Blink 182 than The Clash.
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