ALBUM REVIEW: Martha – Love Keeps Kicking (Big Scary Monsters)
Durham indie-punks Martha are back with a third album of their pathos-soaked indie-pop, on a new label after the demise of previous one Fortuna! Pop.
The four-piece have long been a staple of the UK’s DIY scene, and their melodic punk-pop is easy to fall for.
The band comprises J. Cairns and Daniel Ellis on guitars, Naomi Griffin on bass, and Nathan Stephens-Griffin on drums, and Martha is very much a democracy, with all four members singing and writing the songs.
This is a break-up album, written from the heart, and although it’s less immediate than 2014’s Courting Strong and 2016’s Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart, after a few listens I love it.
Across 11 tracks, the Pity Me quartet show that while the world seems to be falling apart, there is still plenty worth fighting for.
It starts in typical jaunty fashion with Heart Is Healing and Sight For Sore Eyes, but moves up a gear on the third track when Naomi takes lead vocals for Into This, singing “sometimes we seem close but at other times it’s like you’ve never met me”, and “you only want to kiss me when you’ve had a drink”.
Martha classics in the making
The next two songs are, for me, among the best the band have written. Wrestlemania VIII is another love song, with one of their catchiest choruses: “They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, when we first met it felt like we’d been friends for so much longer”.
Mini Was A Preteen Arsonist tells the true story of Michael ‘Mini’ Cooper, a Craghead lad who was locked up for starting fires, and, at 11 years old, was the subject of a BBC documentary examining his life as an inhabitant of a young offenders’ home.
“Mini was a rebel and a tearaway, He wouldn’t say his prayers and he wouldn’t behave, He could sing a song, he could write a play, But they gave him the belt and said he’d never be saved,” are among the best lyrics the band have penned, and the song is dedicated to Mini, and to the silenced and the caged.
Another standout track is Orange Juice, another Martha classic, though in truth there’s not a bad song here, or even an average one. 8/10.