You thought we were joking…
Juana Giaimo: What a year this has been. Months passed by, leaving frozen images of the seasons, and now that December brought the hot weather to the southern hemisphere, all that is left is ice cream and sunscreen melting down and dripping on my hand as I stand still. The past, present and future tense is all the same as it is Spring, August or Autumn because it all gets confused. But I’ll be straightforward: I don’t know how my year would have turned out without Martha. I had many emotional downfalls and have been lost in the pit of myself. Listening to Martha was feeling that raw excitement in how their voices are taken to the extreme and how the guitars resonate in my headphones as I took the daily bus going to school, waiting anxiously for that extra-instant they linger on the next to last “I know.” I’m still shocked by the abrupt midway change and how the punkier second half can embrace hopelessness with such desperate energy — and I love that slight ironic tone of the music video with their theatrical faces, the fake smiles and loads of colorful flowers. And after so many listens, my heart is softened and crumbles down as I hear the most delicate tender voice about to break singing to me: “I know you wish for fireworks to light your July skies.” Yes, that is exactly what I’ve wanted all year, how did you know?
Brad Shoup: Turns out they had a high gear: flowery pop-punk from the Middle Ages of twee. The second half is the same as the first, only tossed in the dryer; without the drums, it has the unshowy melodicism of prime Counting Crows. This kicks ass.
Iain Mew: An explosion of emotions and guitars which sounds like Johnny Foreigner doing “Girl From Mars” — everything I want from indie pop in one tight pakcage, leading to my fastest “+ bandcamp” search ever.
Ryo Miyauchi: With the light acoustic strums, his observations of a sunburn remain a cute note jotted down in a private pocketbook after a nice day with a crush. Once the guitars kick in, that entry becomes a fantasy come to life. It feels fuzzy and larger than life like a dream; it ends quickly like one too.
Will Adams: It feels like so much happens in so little time, thanks to the explosive switch and sustained energy throughout. “Ice Cream and Sunscreen” is entirely dependent on that switch, but its opposing halves are endearing enough to look past its obviousness.
Alfred Soto: Every time I get tired of slow/fast slow/fast here comes a band showing how this dynamic can sound engaging when passion and craft meet in the studio. The quiet twists work: the boy sings the contemplative parts while the girl and the rest of the band sing the rousing punk moment.
Jonathan Bradley: “I know you wish for fireworks to light your July sky/I’m the dampest box of matches you’d ever hope to find.” Martha explodes nevertheless, in beautiful heartbroken twee-punk glee, the lead vocalists wrestling like puppies over guitar clamor like Another Sunny Day or The Lucksmiths gone electric. Summer recedes from the song almost as soon as it has appeared, but Martha sounds like sunshine even in the gloom of November and disappointment.
A.J. Cohn: Admittedly, my almost automatic reaction to jangly tales of longing and sweetly shambolic pop punk is a feeling of goodwill. But it speaks to Martha’s seriously above-average charms, that this track just about literally caused me to melt.