Martha and The Muffins were the subject of this outstanding guest ICA by Alex G away back in July 2015.
As Alex G reminded us, Martha and the Muffins formed in Toronto in 1977 and within a year had settled down to a line-up of Martha Johnson (vocals, keyboards), Mark Gane (guitar), Carl Finkle (bass), Andy Haas (sax), Martha Ladly (backing vocals, keyboards) and Tim Gane (drums). A self-financed 7”, Insect Love, brought them to the attention of Virgin Records, who signed them up to their new DinDisc label and brought them to the UK to cut a debut album Metro Music (Canada 1979, UK release 1980) from which a first single was identified:-
mp3 : Martha and The Muffins – Echo Beach
It would prove to be their only hit in the UK, and indeed outside of Canada, the band has long struggled for any recognition beyond Echo Beach. It must be a a bit bewildering for the band, as they went on to release a number of critically well-received singles and albums in later years but the record buying public seemed determined to have them firmly in the category of one-hit wonders.
The single is a great example of new wave in its broadest definition. It’s not a rock song, it’s not a punk song and while it has a pop feel to it, it can’t be classified as pure pop. It also makes much use of keyboards but not in any sort of way that you would associate with prog or the emerging electronica. It’s also ridiculously catchy and tailor-made for radio, still often heard on the numerous stations devoted to nostalgia. Kind of hard to accept that it is coming up for its 40th birthday.
Here’s your b-side:-
mp3 : Martha and The Muffins – Teddy the Dink
Fun filled fact.
In June 2011, a 4,000 capacity outdoor concert venue opened in Toronto and it was decided to name after this hit single…and yes, it is on a waterfront loaction!