Smoking Martha is really In Deep With Australian Rock

Some call it the Antipodes or The Land Down Under; Pratchett aficionados know it as Four Eks, most know it as Australia. Regardless of the name, a band from the continent of Vegemite, called Smoking Martha, has at last obtained a European release for their album In Deep, timed nicely to coincide with their forthcoming tour. This album (recorded and released in 2017 in Australia) now has an extra five tracks of “demos” which constituted their debut EP released in 2014. It is good news for non-Oz dwellers as we can all share in a band that brings a stimulating meld of fellow Australian band Baby Animals and Tarja… a blend I can only describe as symphonic rock punk. It may sound like a recipe for discord, but it does work. Their approach to rock has earned them support slots with Uriah Heep, Electric Mary and Cherie Currie, amongst others.

The opener, So Lonely, will make you fall instantly for Tasha as her voice “reaches out of this silence” and the band backs her up with an inventive riff based backing. Say You’re Mine is another heavy riff behind a low register vocal until, after the second chorus, the pace picks up as echoed vocals lead to a short, well-constructed guitar solo. To The Stars has a catchy, sparse instrumentation as Tasha uses the full range of her voice and emotions. Ebb Of The Tide is a little more symphonic in attitude with a touch of what they tend to call power pop these days…but the bridge is so different and fits perfectly with the Jekyll and Hyde lyrics. One Night brings the punk references to the fore but with more structured chord patterns than that description conjures. Acoustic and strings introduce the sweet, yet sad ballad that is Baby Let Me Go. Follow is a classy traditional heavy rock song with its slow build up, its multi-tracked vocals and guitar phrases. It sounds a bit Scorpions when it starts, moves through a Sabbath phase before it becomes all ‘Martha’. Find A Way is my favourite with its thudding bass intro and simple, but effective guitars and vocals. What’s Her Name is heavy pop and would be an ideal single. Stranger Things wraps up the new tracks and is a punkish, almost Blondie, styled song but with those heavy chords and a clever bridge section rescuing it from becoming over simplistic.

The bonuses aren’t just throwaways either although the production is a little muddier. Fake Promises and Sweet As Honey show how the band has grown and they do have an attraction of their own even if, at times, they sound a bit like a heavier version of the Pretenders but without the warbling.

A thoroughly enjoyable album of rock peppered with pop, pomp and punk – it may take a couple of listens, but that will be rewarded with the catchiness getting to you and the fact that these guys can play…and play well. Listening to the development from the bonuses to the fully-fledged album certainly bodes well for this inventive band. The next one should be even better, especially if it has longer solos…please!

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

  1. So Lonely
  2. Say You’re Mine
  3. To The Stars
  4. Ebb Of The Tide
  5. One Night
  6. Baby Let Me Go
  7. Follow
  8. Find A Way
  9. What’s Her Name
  10. Stranger Things
  11. All Lit Up (Bonus Demo)
  12. Bad Choices (Bonus Demo)
  13. Fake Promises (Bonus Demo)
  14. Heavy Heart (Bonus Demo)
  15. Sweet As Honey (Bonus Demo)

Musicians:
Tasha D – Vocals
Mick Broome – Guitar
Matty Mulheran – Bass
Jordy Poynter – Drums

Recorded at Loose Stone Studios and produced by Matthew Bartlem

UK Tour dates:
9th Nov – OXFORD, The Wheatsheaf
10th Nov – Hard Rock Hell
11th Nov – BLACKPOOL, Waterloo
15th Nov – IPSWICH, The Railway
16th Nov – NOTTINGHAM, Salutation Inn
17th Nov – GLOSSOP, The Globe
18th Nov – NEWPORT, The Patriot
21st Nov – NEWCASTLE, Trillians
22nd Nov – MANCHESTER, Gullivers
23rd Nov – DONCASTER, Woolpack Live
24th Nov – WAKEFIELD, Black Mass
25th Nov – GLASGOW, Ivory Blacks
29th Nov – BIRMINGHAM, The Flapper
30th Nov – LONDON, The Black HeartSmoking Martha is really In Deep With Australian Rock

 

 

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