So Banoffee (Martha Brown) has finally jumped back into the pool that is ‘Electronic Music In Melbourne’ with her brand new EP Do I Make You Nervous?. It’s the first release since signing with new label Dot Dash/Remote Control Records and what do I think? It’s a culmination of what she does best; abstract synth music with catchy hooks.
The title track says it all: ‘With Her’. You can’t help but feel with her, on her side. Even if the EP didn’t live up to your utmost expectations. There’s such a sincerity to Brown’s tone of voice, you can’t hate it. Particularly if you’ve been a fan from ‘Let’s Go to the Beach’. There’s a rawness to the production aspect of her music (big help from long time pal’ Oscar Key Sung) – almost feels like it’s a little laid-back. Some might selectively call it rough, however, this notion builds an endearing quality to the tracks. You can forgive if the hard synth that comes in sounds out of place, because she feels like your neighbour; the musician who lives around the corner from you, the one you know is much more talented than people give her credit for.
Maybe in this view, this style of electronic music is a little more human. The odd drum machine that wasn’t really needed in the overall mix but Brown has put it there because she wants to. Her aesthetic isn’t to please the big group of commercial labels, her music is experimental and speaks to the creative pool of Melbournites, back-alley warehouse parties and her hoards of fans.
Was I expecting a little more? Yes. I guess this is because I was itching for more since her self-titled EP last year, my anticipation was heightened. Unfortunately, I was hoping this EP would give me reason to stay home tonight and lock the door with the play on repeat. I enjoy the EP immensely, however, I’m bias because I enjoy her – to the untrained ear, it sounds a little less polished then the predecessor. ‘Oceans’, for example, feels confused; at points it feels like the amount of elements going on didn’t quite meld together the way I was hoping, and took me a little concentration to hear her beautiful voice… Except! Oh, yes, when the bridge hits at 2:30 – that was cool. That felt different, that felt fresh and that was the feelings that I wanted from the entire thing.
In saying that ‘Body Suit’ was sexy and smooth. “I take my own route, I won’t drive it – foots down because that’s how you like it”. This was in my opinion the best track on the EP. It felt strong, in that all the elements worked together to tick both the ‘Banoffee’ box, but also marketable to a wider audience. High pitched choruses that hook, lyrical content that is easy to digest, nice soft piano breakdowns overlayed with electronic audio effects, a good steady pace of the drum machine. Something you can fade away to, but also something you can get down to.
Thus speaking of getting down, ‘Fall Fast’ definitely continued that vibe. Tell you what, Brown knows how to incorporate a stern ‘click’ of the fingers. Literally, I wanted to click along or at least bop my head severely. “No I’m never letting you go, you’re too good. You can drive, I’ll direct”. The lyrics are cleverly real, who hasn’t loved holding the map in the passenger seat while their lover drove the car. Again for an untrained ear, this makes it easier to feel the construction of the music, rather than understand it.
In this case, the EP ended really strong, leaving lasting taste in my mouth for her next show.
I’ll be down front and center, and Banoffee can direct. I’ll follow, because she’s just too good.
‘Do I Make You Nervous?’ EP was release 2nd of October through Dot Dash Records.