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Martyr Privates


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  • The Australian trio Martyr Privates' self-titled debut album sounds like the work of a band that spent loads of time working hard and honing its craft by stripping away all the extraneous nonsense to get to the bare essentials. There's not a stray note, excessive guitar solo, misplaced lyric, or bit of fluff anywhere. The trio delivers tough-as-nails noise rock from beginning to end, with guitarist Cameron Hawes strangling shards of distorted fury out of his instrument as bassist Ashleigh Shipton and drummer Sam Dixon follow behind in thudding lockstep. Hawes' vocals are bereft of artifice, too, his everyman warbling fitting in perfectly with the clamoring, streamlined noise the band makes. As impressive as their sound can be, it would be for naught if they had no songs upon which to apply their winning formula. Luckily for anyone fortunate enough to hear the record, there is nothing but good tunes to be found. Starting off with the incessantly hooky "Someone's Head," and featuring great indie rock jammers like the insistently hooky "Something to Sell" and the churning drone "Sores" that ends the album menacingly, the record is jammed with the kind of songs bands like Bailter Space would have killed for in the '90s, Yo La Tengo effortlessly tossed off at various points in their career, and many of their Flying Nun worshiping contemporaries wish they could write. The noisier side of Flying Nun is certainly a major touchstone in the MP's musical DNA, and so is the thundering drive of the Stooges' simplest songs. Quite a few bands have had a similar approach over the years; few have done it as brilliantly simply as Martyr Privates have here. This is a stunning debut by a band whose members knew exactly what they wanted to do, and did it perfectly. ~ Tim Sendra
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