Smoking Martha – Smoking Martha – EP Review
Very diverse blend of rock coming out the amplifiers of Brisbane, Australia’s Smoking Martha…I can literally hear this style of music finding a way to capture every fan out there who has a love for classic-rock like Kiss, the alt/metal & melodic parts in the music of a band like Tool or the innovation and beauty of the inventive rock from Florence + The Machine.
It’s pretty well-known that Kiss isn’t exactly a reference I enjoy making or a sound I’m looking forward to. That being said…yes…I get it…they provide a kick-ass good-time in rock and get the bodies dancing, moving and shaking their thang. When the opening track “Bad Choices” started out…I honestly wasn’t too sure about what I was getting in terms of what this band may or may not be in the songs to follow. It sounds like there’s something here…it’s certainly well-played, yes, but it wasn’t until it shifted & changed towards the chorus. It really reminded me of the old-school production they used to use on Maynard James Keenan’s voice in the early music of Tool. Absolutely effective…the slight echo alongside Tasha’s voice makes this one sound even bigger and the slight tremble in her voice is more like a warning that she’s again about to break all-hell straight loose. And she DOES. Delivering a quivering perfection to this performance, the confidence radiates from the microphones as Tasha delivers her lyrics. The excellent guitar-work and intense drums come crashing back in after a quick breakdown as Smoking Martha takes the beginning of their EP by storm.
As they open up the gates and rip on out, Smoking Martha captivates and explodes quickly and spills out of the speakers with energy and style. Can’t help but fall in love with Tasha’s vocals…they’ve got grace and incredible confidence in their tone. She can head as far up those scales as needed in any of these songs and overall really packs the punch of emotion required from a powerhouse upfront. “Fake Promises” should be all you need to be convinced that this lady isn’t here to mess around in this all-out flawless performance that leaves nothing on the studio-floor. Nailing this chorus with absolutely incredible ideas and execution…Tasha delivers perfectly while the tight combo of four in Mick, Az, Matty and Jordy keep this song on the wonderful adventure it becomes. Huge in every aspect…someone fly me to Australia please so I can watch this song LIVE…it’s gotta be killer!
Apologies to the band for focusing much on Tasha…they might need to get used to that! She is an absolutely astounding display of contained frantic intensity on “Heavy Heart” in the middle of the EP. The incredible band playing along with her certainly never lets her down for a second, they’re rock-solid through and through and tight as the proverbial ‘crab’s ass.’ Tasha sings this one with the ferocity of a young Eddie Vedder. “Heavy Heart” plays fantastically on the heavy-sides of emotion and carries an incredible weight in both the music and lyrics…another highlight already after leading the EP with two already…not a bad little average!
They have to be a little careful somewhat. In my opinion, were it not for the diversity that Tasha can bring to the music…sometimes this band might be in trouble and not reaching far enough. Case in point is the music in “All Lit Up,” which of course does provide the same tight rock-edge you’ll expect from this crew at this point…but might have ended up sounding very much like any other rock song without the incredible powerhouse in Tasha upfront. The notes she hits on “All Lit Up” are what making music like this is really all about…just soaring, perfect, MASSIVE notes that expand and ring out with raw, bleeding emotion. Inspiring, uplifting…there’s no doubt about whether or not the song packs energy, it certainly does in multiple-doses…but I think it also speaks to Tasha’s ability to reign supreme upon any musical-canvas she might choose to paint her words on. She takes “All Lit Up,” a song I’d almost dare say is somewhat ‘ordinary’ and finds a way to turn the entire song around into an exercise in being extraordinary.
“Sweet As Honey” ends the EP crashing in cymbal-crashing delight with a funked-out bass groove driving this sultry, punky last explosion of rock before they sign off. A catchy-riff…albeit perhaps a little close to the Wolfmother edge, style and sound…it really also doesn’t seem to matter who Smoking Martha tends to sound like…by the time you figure out the name of the band they remind you of, you’ll already realize that you’d rather be listening to Smoking Martha ANYWAY.
Excellent effort here and a huge indication of more excellence to come from this band later on in their career as they continue to grow. With heart, raw passion and power, precision musicianship and mind-blowing vocals…I’d definitely put my money on this band being one to truly watch over these next five years. If this Australian band doesn’t find its way to the world in these next years to come…I’d place a healthy bet on the world finding THEM.
So head to their Facebook page and support them now! You get sooooooooo much more street-cred when you support a band right from the beginnings…trust me! https://www.facebook.com/smokingmartha
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