ARTIST: Martha & the Muffins
TITLE: Metro Music
YEAR RELEASED: 1979
CHART ACTION: #187 US, #34 UK, #16 Canada
SINGLES: Echo Beach (#37 US Dance, #10 UK, #5 Canada), Saigon, Paint by Number Heart (#37 US Dance, #69 Canada)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Indecision
LINEUP: Martha Johnson, Martha Ladly, Mark Gane, Carl Finkle, Tim Gane, Andy Haas
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Canadian New-Wave group hit it big with “Echo Beach” and back it up with a decently strong album.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A classic guitar line, intriguing synths, and a solid rhythm section backing Martha Johnson’s voice as she relates a tale of her boring job and the fun she would like to have at Echo Beach. It could have been just a Canadian one-hit wonder, but the rest of the album finds it strides in similar tales of ennui with lyrics that are more literate than your usual fare.
The ten tracks, mostly written by Mark Gane or Johnson, are similar but varied enough to hold an interest for the most part. The key song for me is “Indecision”, in which Johnson laments that she can’t make a decision about anything, and thus is stuck in the rut.
It’s not a totally crucial record, but it’s a good representative of smart new-wave that was happening around 1980 or so.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: During the next few years, they recorded two more (that aren’t streaming) and lost Martha Ladly and then bassist Carl Finkle in the process.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: If you like “Echo Beach”, you won’t be disappointed.