Home Albums Album Review : SMOKING MARTHA – ‘UNIVERSE’


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Review by Paul Sabin for MPM

Brisbanes Smoking Martha release their third album which continues in the vein of its predecessors, as an open canvas that’s not limited to one genre of music.

Tara D’s enigmatic voice that is full of passion, power and tonal inflictions plots a course to explore the `Universe’.

`Good Girls’ transports us back in time with a sound that pulls elements of the sixties and the post punk era. Think Transvison Vamp and No Doubt. `Only Love’ is a meatier track with upbeat, crashing metal guitars underpinning Tara D’s smouldering vocal. A hooky chorus makes this a memorable song.

A funky rock vibe percolates from `I Love’. Rhythmic guitars blend with a soaring vocal that is sweet but still potent. The tempo slows with `Wonderful Happiness’ which ebbs and flows between quieter parts and all out moshing but actually is a strangely comforting track.

Heavy chords ring out at the start of `Liquid Sunshine’ as it morphs into a modern rock anthem of epic proportions. We are transported to a smoke filled, dark bar for the slow blues of `Intermission’. Stripped down to guitar and vocals, we are exposed to another side of Smoking Martha.

Changing styles again, acoustic guitars and scratchy rhythms take on a country styled favour on `Neon Nights’. Think `Rumours’ era Fleetwood Mac. BOC’s `Don’t Fear The Reaper’ comes straight to mind with the formulation of the riffs contained in `Ghost’. An echoey vocal helps distance the similarity but it straddles a thin line.

`It’s A Lie’ has the attitude filled, heavy rock meets western sound that until now I’ve only heard Gorilla Riot pull off successfully, but Smoking Martha pull out all the stops here and making this a fearsome track. A wall of sound unleashes its power as `In The Shadows’ releases its addictive melodies, challenging everything in its path.

`Wild & Free’ is one of those tracks that evokes thoughts of 80’s American hard rock, sunny beaches and road trips. The title track and last on the album sees Tara D perform a hauntingly beautiful vocal backed only by acoustic guitar and atmospheric padding.

Here is little doubt in my mind that Smoking Martha are destinated for greatness. Outstanding musicianship and that resistance to being pigeon holed, gives them wide audience appeal, and when that is blended with an exquisite voice and thought provoking song-writing you have a winning combination. More Please!


Stream, Buy, Save it to your playlist, Enjoy!🤘https://open.spotify.com/album/4L7IjQ45ZG9FZNdfamnoxf

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