You’ve got to admire any band prepared to literally sing for their supper. Marthas & Arthurs – reflexively pegged as this year’s Magic Numbers because they consist of two gents and two ladies who sing in close harmony – do just that via their “Dinner Downloads” initiative: fetching up en masse at your doorstep if decent scran and a convivial atmosphere is on hand.
Their gentle, folksy debut album is as winsome as a gingham jam jar lid. The more cynical among you may feel fleetingly compelled to “fuck shit up” during Ape On A Train Called Jane and Who Will Marry Me?, which, on the face of it, sound like they should be soundtracking adverts for low-fat spreads. Darker currents run beneath the rubicund jollity, though, and it’s the band’s self-aware, mordantly humorous lyrics that will eventually ensnare the doubters. In particular, the measured and mesmerising Clamour For A Fudge and Vine Leaves In Her Hair hint at a direction the band could profitably pursue when the picnicking turns into Picnic At Hanging Rock.
Beautifully sung and unobtrusively played, The Hit World Of… is really quite the tonic in The Current Climate©. Marthas & Arthurs could well become the Free Design of the 21st Century.