Martha Rose to release new album ‘Close To Close’ out 31st May on Mansions and Millions

Drifting off in a dreamlike state, lost in a meadow maybe, the sun is shining, gently warming your skin. The smell of spring is perfuming the air, and there is lightness all around. A lightness that’s everything but shallow, a lightness full of cheekiness, a lightness that has come to know loss and alienation. This is the sonic landscape Martha Rose has created for us. It evokes a tender, diffuse nostalgia, an air of simplicity, yet feels mystical at the same time. Welcome to the world of Martha.

An English multi-instrumentalist, Martha Rose has been active in Berlin’s diverse underground music scene for years. With Close to Close, she makes her debut at the Neukölln-based label Mansions and Millions, the home to many of her long-time collaborators. Close to Close is an organic and introspective meditation, creating an almost dreamlike state of being that feels simultaneously fragile, mournful but also light and full of love. “It mourns closeness gone cold”, Martha explains “and the quiet loss of unspoken fragile intimacy.”  Unsurprisingly, the record’s first ideas were conceived during “those lonely months of lockdown“, she remembers.

It took until May 2023 for them to fully come to fruition, working together with producer ET at his studio in Neukölln. Working with vintage drum machine samples, Yamaha keyboards Martha had collected, and lots of live recordings, they created the world of Close to Close. Alongside nods to traditional songs and ballads from Ireland, England, Scotland and the US, inspiration was found in the music of Daniel Johnston, Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins, in literature, childhood memories, fairy tales, and DJ-sets at quintessential Berlin hangouts. “ET asked me lots of important and difficult questions about the songs“, Martha remembers “to make sure they were forming in the best and most honest way possible.“

Honesty is a common thread binding the dreamy soundscapes together, the lyrics are united by Martha’s bravery to share feelings of loneliness and being vulnerable. “It seems that the overarching theme of love will always be in my music, no matter what I do“, she says, “there are themes of romance, introspection, and loss in this project too.“ These personal experiences serve as a springboard to develop a song, and through the use of fictional or classic characters (such as the ancient Greek figure of Eurydice in the eponymous song) and archetypes, mysticism, fantasy and symbolism then take up a life of their own.

“Chin Up” for example, a tender ballad about being brave and keeping one’s chin up even after experiencing rejection, invokes traditional folk traditions from the American mid-west. “Never Love Enough”, wrapping the listener in sweet, blissful harmonies, turns the narratives of a love song on its head by wondering whether the lyrical subject can ever match their lover’s devotion. “The Love In Your Heart”, a call to love without fear reflects the feeling of peace that is found when you accept your own contradictory self. “The Same Feeling”, on the other hand, explores darker tonalities and themes. Martha says “There is a feeling of night time danger and glamour, and a relentlessness to the melodies in this song, which keep pushing through the emotional walls they are trying to understand.”

In a record full of highlights,“Heart Still Beats 4 U” still manages to stand out: Martha creates a song that is simultaneously subtle, yet undeniably disco. “It’s an upbeat lament about the impossibility of escaping your crush, soundtracking lonely nights secretly crying on a glittering 80s dance floor“, Martha reveals.

Close to Close is a remarkably concise, softly confident and impressive debut by a seasoned artist with a clear artistic vision, and the skills to make these dreams come true. There is bravery in romance, in vulnerability, in softness – and Martha Rose has created the perfect soundscape for it.

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