Martha – ‘Love Keeps Kicking’

By Tom Walsh

Break-ups are horrible. No matter whether it comes in the form of a volcanic argument, the slow, drawn-out death of two people drifting apart, or the heartbreaking mutual decision that this is all “for the best”, break-ups are horrible.

It takes a band like Martha to pierce through the heartbreak and those all-too-familiar knots in the stomach to remind us that what hurts now, may not hurt forever. The County Durham DIY indie-punks’ third full-length album, ‘Love Keeps Kicking’, brings together those sentiments of rejection, exasperation, and the anxiety of relationships with trademark pop riffs and emotive lyrics.

The record doesn’t wait around to drag you into the Heartbreak Hotel, with ‘Sight For Sore Eyes’ questioning the legitimacy of the often-used phrase for someone who becomes a stranger over time. We’re then met by Naomi Griffin’s resonating tale of chasing a love for someone who sees you as a disposable object.

Griffin laments “my heart flutters and it sinks because you only want to kiss me when you’ve had a drink”, which feels like a story told by pretty much everyone in the Tinder generation of dating. The beautiful ‘Brutalism By The River (Arrhythmia)’ lays down the anthemic line “falling love is a dangerous game”, as both Griffin and Daniel Ellis’ vocals balance effortlessly together.

Among the tracks of love and loss there are trademark Martha tropes such as the lead single, and stand-out song on the record, ‘The Void’. Mirroring the despair that many people are feeling with the state of the world, it presents it as an arguing couple who see the impending doom of everything around them. It is a brooding, dark track that is something not in-keeping with the record, but something that is quintessential Martha.

While ‘Love Keeps Kicking’ manages to maintain a positive spin on the topic of break-ups with a knowing smile and an arm-around-the-shoulder vibe, the closing track of ‘The Only Letter That You Kept’ raises the lump up in your throat. It is an apology track, chronicling the creation and destruction of a relationship with the lasting message of “sorry, I made this worse”.

Martha’s cult status among the DIY community has been established through bristling anarchic punk songs, but in ‘Love Keeps Kicking’ they add a layer of delicacy and tenderness to their repertoire. It is a record that addresses heartbreak in a way that says, yes, break-ups are horrible, but it won’t last forever – and, ultimately, it does get better.

TOM WALSH

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