Australian alternative rock band, Smoking Martha have been wowing live audiences alongside the likes of Wolfmother, Thunder, Seether, Hardcore Superstar, Fuel, Everclear, P.O.D., Cherie Currie (The Runaways) and more, as they continue to build their fanbase. Hailing from Brisbane/Gold Coast, the group hav released their debut album, “In Deep” to raving reviews and fan satisfaction. Recorded at Loose Stone Studios with Matthew Bartlem (Matt Corby, Dead Letter Circus) in the producer’s chair, the album perfectly captures the band’s heavy hitting, but versatile sound. And that softer introspective sound is gently unfolded on Smoking Samantha’s single, “Baby Let Me Go”, where singer Tasha D’s nuanced vocals intertwine with the emoting strings and resonant acoustic guitars.
Even without the heavy guitars, even without the drums, Smoking Martha very much remains a rock band. The drama, the emotion, the soaring vocals, the sprawling six-string picks and strums, all amalgamate to underscore Tasha D’s sullen and sultry lament.
She’s the epitome of puissance and vulnerability rolled into one, as she sings us through a journey of loss and emotional recovery while dealing with death. If you’re anything like me when it comes to music, you’ll only get about halfway through the track before you start to melt.
This is Smoking Martha breaking out of their rock hard cocoon, rising above the grind, and truly achieving the unthinkable, performing one of their best songs in way that is both minimalist and impressive.
“Baby Let Me Go” is incredibly stripped down, to the point where it’s the important elements that really grasp your attention – the voice, the story, the message, and the emotion. It gave me goosebumps. The song builds, and builds, until the vocals shake you to your core with their affectability and range. It’s impossible to tear your attention away from them until the very end.
Not once throughout the entire performance does Tasha D feel under-powered or overpowering – if anything she feels right at home with this performance, and she should feel proud of it. She is one of the band’s most attractive qualities.
I say this over and above any obvious marketing strategy to use aesthetics to promote the band. She really is one of the most prominent forces in every song. Furthermore, while discarding most of the overused and annoyingly predictable characteristics of a typical rock ballad, Smoking Martha have constructed a song here, which stands alone as a great work unto itself.
Most striking is how, when listening to Tasha D sing “Baby Let Me Go” with only acoustic guitars and string accompaniment, the timeless quality of the song brilliantly shines through.
For the casual listener, the emphasis on her distinctive vocal style will be captivating, to say the least, but for dedicated fans of the band, the song offers an ever deeper dive into Smoking Martha’s composing skills which tantalizingly hint at an alternative trajectory whenever they may see fit.