ALBUM REVIEW: Martha - Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart
Durham darlings Martha are back with a second album of DIY garage punk.
The four-piece from Pity me gained something of a cult following with their 2014 debut Courting Strong.
It was all about growing up as a punk - and therefore an outsider - in a small community.
This follow-up is about the difficulty of staying punk, while also being a grown-up.
Fans will be pleased to hear it's just as catchy, and just as political, as the first record.
But it's also the sound of a band maturing, and growing in confidence as the plaudits continue to rain in.
Unusually, all four members take turns at singing, and their vocal interplay and harmonies are one of the things that will make you fall for Martha.
It tackles subjects like work, money and expectations, and the positive effect that doing things you love can have on your life.
The record bursts into life with the frantic Christine, which is followed by Chekhov's Hangnail, a tune driven by some gloriously scuzzy guitar.
The catchy-as-hell Precarious (The Supermarket Song) contains my favourite lyric on the whole album ("this flutter in my chest keeps getting scarier, like an unexpected item in your bagging area") and is a contender for standout track.
Lead track Goldman’s Detective Agency re-imagines 19th century anarchist Emma Goldman as a private eye vanquishing corrupt cops and politicians.
In fact, nearly every song here is a potential single, if such a thing still exists; from the infectious Do Whatever - a cross between Little Comets and Weezer - to the wonderful 11:45, Legless In Brandon, and the Coronation Street-referencing Curly and Raquel, they're all three-minute gems.
The album ends with St Paul's (Westerberg Comprehensive), which is about being caught up in the toxic culture of a Catholic comprehensive school.
My only disappointment is the fact that even after repeated listens, the 11 tracks seem to pass in the blink of an eye, making you want to listen to them all over again.
Martha are playing a sold-out album launch show at Alington House in Durham on 14 July and at Sunderland Summer Streets Festival two days later.
Catch them if you can. They really could be your new favourite band - you probably just don't know it yet. 8/10.