There’s plenty to love about punk in 2012. The brutal intensity of reanimated hardcore, the endlessly-posi bro-down of gruff (or ‘org-core’ if that’s the way you roll)… hell, there’s even been a college rock revival in recent years. But if the scene’s forgotten anything in recent years, it’s that naked aggression and raw throats aren’t the only way to go. And here’s where Durham four-piece Martha come in.
The hooks are the first thing you’ll notice. There’s loads of the buggers, flying all round the place and making you wonder if it’s really fair on everyone else that songs can be this catchy. Then there’s the lyrics; impassioned sociological musings and fascinating history lessons masquerading as simple sing-alongs. And, of course, the delivery. Martha have mastered that neat Buzzcocks trick of riding those gloriously glowing guitars with sweet, comfortingly-fey voices singing in irresistible harmony. In short, they’re pretty darn great.
Thus far, the resolutely-DIY quartet have released one solitary EP on guitarist JC’s label Discount Horse – also home to ONSIND, The Middle Ones and the brilliantly-named Ace Bushy Striptease. It’s an absolute gem, however, and you’re best advised to track down a copy forthwith – or at least head to their Bandcamp page to stream it until you’re beaming as much as your humble correspondent. Luckily for us, the band have donated the superlative ‘1978, Smiling Politely’ for you to download, although be warned: once it’s taken up residency in your head, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever get it to leave.
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Words by Will Fitzpatrick