The Mike Benign Compulsion “Martha”
I’m not really a fan of power pop – always seems to be in no-man’s land; neither here nor there, but it does have its attributes.
“Martha” begins strongly with the semi thrash of ‘Chemicals To Candy’ and continues to mark itself with strong harmonies, jangly guitars and omnipresent melodies, but ultimately remains pretty unsatisfactory to my ears. Now this is probably as a result of my personal taste and I’m sure power pop fans will love this, as it brings in Beatles and Beach Boys influences on ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ and ‘I’ve Never Felt As Good As I Do Now’. Considering the db’s Chris Stamey mixed the album, that will probably be enough for fans of Crowded House, Squeeze et al.
‘Tattoos Of Bruises’ and ‘Feed The Family’ bring in some serious subjects, but with no loss of Benign’s trademark sound. ‘Bigger Man’ provides one of the best songs here, with its rhythmic melancholic approach and thoughtful lyrics closely followed by ‘Sing It’ with its simple ride. If you already like alt-pop, then you’ll like this, but it’s unlikely to convert non-believers.