23 April, 2012

The Big Merge

Martha and the Muffins - This Is The Ice Age (1981)

Thinking of Canada and new wave music in the same sentence used to conjure nightmares of Men Without Hats until I discovered this album. I'll be honest, Toronto based M + M and their 1980 single "Echo Beach" didn't win me over. But I couldn't resist a goofily named band whose album art looked like it was designed by Peter Saville for Brian Eno's Obscure Records. I wasn't too far off though. M + M was the first band to be on DinDisc, a subsidiary of Virgin that had Saville design most of its sleeves.
But enough namedropping, what does this album actually sound like? Well, this was Daniel Lanois' first venture in production. Lanois would go on to collaborate and produce many records with Eno. Does that have anything to do with how Eno-esque this record sounds? I'm not sure, but there are definitely guitar loops and piano interludes that sound like Fripp and Budd, respectively. The substantial parts of the album are quite cold as the album title would suggest. Martha Johnson's stark vocal style is a grower, but the melancholic guitar hooks with occasional saxophone funk are captivating enough to give you time to adjust. 

1 comment:

  1. si, dis in one amazing album. don't like much of their other stuff, but this somehow stands out. recommended as well. - gaspar von trier