An incredible debut album, and one that both stands the test of time and serves as an excellent sampler of a distinct era and sound called new wave. Hailing from Toronto, though recorded in England by Mike Howlett, the Marthas (there were two Marthas in the original lineup, Johnson and Ladly), and their Muffins recorded energetic and fun pop songs. Just try standing still during the brilliant "Echo Beach" or "Paint By Number Heart." They also managed to write some pretty powerful and intelligent lyrics on this album; just listen to the beauty of "Saigon," featuring haunting vocals from the Marthas, and excellent playing from the band. Mark Gane stands out with his distinctive guitar, featured prominently throughout the album, and Andy Haas provides some very catchy, memorable sax solos. The album also features witty, almost silly songs, such as "Cheesies and Gum," simplistic and hilarious, with a heavy dance beat. Perhaps the only negative aspect of the album is the production; Howlett at times seems to want to focus on the pure pop aspect, while not allowing the band to have their own distinct sound. It is the production that dates the album, but nevertheless, the brilliance of the songs shines through.
AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley