Courting Strong

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Fresh-faced Durham, U.K.-based indie poppers Martha turn in a debut album of speedy and heartfelt punk-leaning catchiness on Courting Strong. Like many of their punk-bred but melody-savvy peers, Martha opt for a minimal, no-frills approach to their brief guitar-based tunes, and the ten songs here zip by in just over a half-an-hour. The album reaches its zenith with the caustically hooky "Bubble in My Bloodstream," a tune that melds the urgency of early Superchunk with a vague sense of desperation and uncertainty that perfectly sum up the wiry tension that runs through the entire album.

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