Martha – Sleeping Beauty EP

There’s something lovely, and surprising, about a band making a mixtape. Of course, when you consider it rationally, of course they should be interested in music, of course they should be supporting one another, of course they dance until they drop to songs that shoot them through with adrenalin, and of course they should want to share their favourite songs with the world. But it’s still a pleasant shock, because we so rarely see evidence that this is the case. So thank you to Martha, the Durham based quartet, and this little collection of tunes, the Sleeping Beauty compilation.

Bookended by the fast and playful opening chords of new single Sleeping Beauty and the final angry shouts of their cover of Cheeky’s Bad Mood this new completion from Durham based band Martha is a rousing confluence of beats and pop ditties from some of their favourite bands on the scene.

It features indie-pop of Philadelphia band Radiator Hospital (with vocals from Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield), scuzzed up and anarchic buzz from Felt Enacted by Cardiff’s Twisted, and a lovely brushed repetition to the rhythms of Art Sorority For Girls on Cecille B. Demille pt.3. The pulsing and frantic buzz of a punky attitude and DIY aesthetic is counterbalanced by honeyed and tender moments like Chrissy Barnacle’s Nightride (with strings) and a yearning soul stretching melody courtesy of Trust Fund on We’ll Both Apologise.

Many of the vocals have that slightly out of tune off kilter tone, polish neglected in the face of authenticity, and an angsty recklessness pervades the EP, the intensity of the emotions that provide the lyrical content perhaps belied by the generally fun nature of the melodies. Despite a variety of locations and labels, what’s clear is the powerful influence of daily life and mundane activities on the craft of songwriting for all the groups on this EP, each drawing on the everyday social and psychological experiences of modern living.

At only twenty minutes long, this compilation of eight songs sure rattles through (that’s two and a half minutes each on average), but what it lacks in length, it more than compensates for in noisy and heartfelt clout.

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