Tag Archives: Durham

Martha, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 3 September 2019

DoYouThinkHeSaurus? are a Cambridge quartet with an experimental, creative approach to their music. They produce a loose art-rock sound laced with sonorous jazz-toned guitar effects, along with memorable lyrics built around short almost random phrases. But the overriding feeling is that they are a group of friends making a great sound!
The steadily growing audience warmed to their range of styles, developed over a substantial set with many highlights, from a surf-rock instrumental (‘Party Song’) to the bold bass and driven drums workout of ‘Cross-Words’ (showcasing the talents of their stand-in drummer). Clearly very happy to be the support to the much-loved headliners they made an excellent impact.

Durham-based four-piece Martha are acknowledged indie-pop royalty with a loyal following and three fine albums to their name. From ‘Wrestlemania VIII’ which opened their set, it was immediately clear that the elements were all in place; a tight sound, powerful drumming, the dual guitars, brilliant bass high in the mix and the endless possibilities when you have a band with four vocalists.

It is mostly uptempo; very danceable and uplifting musically and of course peppered with the indie-angst of many of the lyrics. ‘Into This’ was a noisy clatter with brilliant drums and a simply stated message of disappointment ‘….my heart flutters then it sinks…cause you only want to kiss me when you’ve had a drink…’
The much-streamed favourite ‘Ice Cream and Sunscreen’ was of course a high point, especially the contrast between the quiet and loud sections and the poignant lyrical turns ‘…I know you wish for fireworks to light your July sky…I was the dampest box of matches you could ever hope to find…’.
Mostly playing tracks from 2019 long-player ‘Love Keeps Kicking’ they still have a substantial back-catalogue to draw on, including the lyrical paranoia and fantastic vocal finale of ‘Bubble In The Bloodstream’.

This likeable quartet was always going to get an encore from the faithful and converts in the audience and ‘1967, I Miss You I’m Lonely’ was an essential for the evening with a guitar riff to haunt your brain and the lines’….when I invited Frank and you, back to mine for a mange tout….when I meant ménage à trois…’.
Finishing with ‘Come To Durham and Never Leave’, it was a triumphant set on their first visit to Cambridge!


T-Shirt Weather : Pig Beach, released January 2016

T-Shirt Weather are a pop/punk trio from Durham, making their mark with this first long-player.

‘Devin O’Leary’ is a boisterous opening track spiced up with thrown-in violin, sounding like a powerful hybrid of Arctic Monkeys and something off an early Roxy Music album. ‘Gum’ keeps the momentum going, plenty of brass, a sublime middle eight and a sharp play-out. There is a singalong chorus on ‘The Undersigned’ to splice together some deft instrumentation including a bit of keyboard in there.

I thought that ‘My Dad’s Black Polo’ referred to cool parental 1960s Gallic upper-body wear but it is the car that the singer reminiscences about wistfully. Don’t worry, its not a slow lament and neither is the next song ‘Sometimes’, a punchy tale of not quite coping, with some choice lyrics (“I wear my face to keep my brain in place…”) .

The widescreen sweeping sound of ‘Spaghetti Western (school reunion version)’ is a heartfelt ballad, different in tone and pace from the rest of the album (“it’s not the films I miss, it’s someone to watch them with…”) The last tracks are two more frenetic energy bursts; taken together they sound like a mini-musical with contrasting sections crammed into very short running times.

Noisy, intense, edgy…a great debut!