Martha and the Muffins

Then Again: A Retrospective

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Then Again: A Retrospective isn't just a career-spanning compilation for Martha & the Muffins/M + M, an '80s band that crossed many bridges, including pop, new wave, experimental, dance, and whatever else they felt like doing. It was assembled by Martha Johnson and Mark Gane, the creative core of the band, and they made some excellent choices here. Also, because the set is sequenced in chronological order, it assists the listener in assessing this incredibly creative band's evolution while maintaining its own distinct sound. The playlist also demonstrates Martha Johnson's growing confidence with her astounding voice, and Mark Gane's mastery of the studio and his various instruments. The hits are all here ("Echo Beach," "Women Around the World at Work," and "Black Stations/White Stations"), as well as choice album cuts ("World Without Borders," Come Out and Dance," "Rainbow Sign"). These tracks have never sounded better, especially the wonderfully eerie but danceable "Danseparc," the poppy "Song in My Head," and the incredibly catchy "Cooling the Medium." Overall, an excellent album for fans and newcomers. Also included is a new song, "Resurrection," which fits in quite well with the older material, yet is able to show that the band continued to grow.

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