published: 18 /
This selection from their archives is a reminder of just how great Martha and the Muffins are. Lots of good memories but there’s also a freshness to their music that is sure to win them new fans.
Martha and the Muffins formed in Toronto in 1977 as part of the Canadian punk/new wave/pop scene.
Their chosen name was intended to be non-threatening, in contrast to some of the punk bands of the time.
The group, including founder members Martha Johnson and Mark Gane, made a move to England in 1980, recording their first album at Manor Studios in Oxfordshire. They signed to Dindisc, a new off shoot of Virgin Records at this time. I had a friend who worked for Dindisc back then, and if my memory serves me well, that’s how I first became aware of them.
The single 'Echo Beach' was one of the stand out records of 1980 for me personally. It also went Top 10 around the world and won them a JUNO award.
I remember going to see them at the Russell Club in Manchester in early 1980 and loving every minute of their show.
This collection of 12 tracks plus a bonus track, takes us into the band’s archive, with a selection of rare singles, B sides and unreleased tracks. This music comes from another time, some of it from another century even, but it has a freshness and energy that gives it a very contemporary appeal. They were ahead of their time.
Over the decades band members have come and gone. There have been name changes, successful side projects and long gaps between recordings and releases.
Now the band have announced that they are working on a new release for 2022, and this seems the perfect time to look back over their distinctive approach to creating pop music with a twist.
There are alternative versions of 'Echo Beach', one a remix from 2001-2002 and the other a stripped back limited release from 2010. Both explore the impact and experimental mood of the song in different ways.
Demos and unreleased/unfinished songs, recorded at the Web in Bath in the mid to late 1980s are particularly intriguing. 'Talking Through My Hat' was triggered by Ronald Reagan and has a frustrated energy as a result.. There’s an early version of 'Fighting The Monsters', and an unreleased demo, 'There Comes a Day'. The bonus track, 'I Am Vertical' also dates from 1988.
The upbeat 'Don’t Monkey With My Love' dates from the same period, a demo intended to be covered by another artist. I’d love to know if they had anyone in mind and couldn’t help imagining Kylie recording it.
There’s a 30th anniversary version of the B side of 'Echo Beach', 'Big Day' from 2010.
There’s enough information on the sleeve notes to try and work out a timeline for the tracks and the most recent is the dreamy 'Summer of Song', recorded in 2013 which went on limited internet release in 2017.
There must be a wealth of material in their back catalogue and archive. It’s great that they are sharing some of it as we look forward to hearing what they are working on for 2022.
On A Silent Summer Evening (Echo Beach Version)
Summer of Song
Do You Ever Wonder
Act Like A Woman
Don't Monkey With My Love
Talking Through My Love
There Comes A Day
Fighting The Monster
Echo Beach (30th Anniversary Version)
I Am Vertical! (Bonus Track)
Play in YouTube:-
Have a Listen:-