Review- “Delicate”- Martha and the Muffins

reviewed by Michael

You read the title right. This is a review of an album by Martha and the Muffins, and it is new. In fact, this is the band’s first album in 18 years, and this album itself was five years in the making. What ensues is proof that the passing of time does not make a band lose its original charm.

This album is definitely not “Echo Beach,” the most played song by Martha and the Muffins. The album actually has some intense and heart-wrenching moments as well.

The first lines of the opening track, “Drive” are: “Into the dark/Into the night.” It’s a good indication that this album is not all sunshine and happiness. Ironically, perhaps, the next track is called “Sailing Through the Light.”

“Sailing” is a really great, funky tune that sounds like it could have come out of the 70’s or 80’s, with a great guitar opening and a more prominent baseline as Martha Johnson begins to sing.

“Even in the Rain” is the song that provides context for a few other songs. It falls under the category of “heart-wrenching” as I mentioned above. It is played with an acoustic guitar, and almost comes across as a song that might be played in front of a campfire. The opening lines are “I’m not a saint and I will never be your angel/Change change change is gonna come.” The chorus is “I don’t know how you can see me in this light/Even in the rain, even in the snow.” It is this line that is heard in other songs, like “Don’t Say Anything.”

“Crosswalk” is a pretty weird song to hear, especially when Mark Ganes mentions a line about a swollen penis sniffing the air. That aside, it has great group vocals, and the catchy hook: “All she wants to do is cross the street.”

“Love Began with Eve” is probably the most stunning track. It features a steady electronic beat, and has Ganes singing primarily. This is the best-sung part by him, and he ends up sounding like Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. Johnson provides some vocals for the harmonies. Besides all of this, there is also a lot of poetry in the lyrics, particularly evident in this verse: “With your seashell ears/Hurricane hair, perfect rosebud mouth/Your cheeks are landing pands for kisses.”

“Rain Reprise” is essentially a shortened, alternate version of “Even in the Rain,” but still keeps the eminent “Even in rain, Even in the snow” that appears on other tracks.

As if this wasn’t already evident, this album is a great listen. Check it out when you can.

Top Tracks: “Sailing Through the Light”; “Even in the Rain”; “Love Began with Eve”

3.5 Hoots (out of 4)

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