Feature: MarthaGunn Shine on Vulnerable, Confident, & Reflective Debut Album ‘Something Good Will Happen’

MarthaGunn © 2021
MarthaGunn © 2021

Mitch's Take

10 Music Quality
9 Production
9 Content Originality
10 Lyricism
9 Memorability
8 Sonic Diversity
9 Arranging
An intimate and impassioned indie pop outpouring of strength, resilience, heart, and wonder, MarthaGunn’s debut album ‘Something Good Will Happen’ is both stunning and stirring – a beautiful, cathartic reckoning.
for fans of Soda Blonde, MisterWives, Walk the Moon
Stream: “Caught Up & Confused” – MarthaGunn

When you truly connect with how you are feeling and put it into words, it feels like you’ve released something. It’s powerful. Cathartic.

Smoldering and cinematic, MarthaGunn’s debut album is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a record of friendship and connection; of seeking balance in turbulent times; of finding meaning in life and sharing the best parts of yourself and your world with the ones you love. An intimate and impassioned indie pop outpouring of strength, resilience, heart, and wonder, Something Good Will Happen is both stunning and stirring – a beautiful, cathartic reckoning.

Something Good Will Happen - MarthaGunn
Something Good Will Happen – MarthaGunn
I was caught up and confused, thought
I had nothing to lose but I was wrong
When I saw you come my way
I was so sure you wouldn’t hurt me at all
Well it only took one look
I was wrapped up in your arms without a thought
It will hurt me just the same
Cause I never share my heart with anyone
I don’t wanna stop loving you
Your mind is made up, I know, there’s nothing I can do
– “Caught Up & Confused,” MarthaGunn

Released September 17, 2021 via Communion, MarthaGunn’s debut album is an exceptional introduction to one of Brighton’s brightest up-and-coming acts. The five-piece of Abi Woodman, Max Hunter, Humphrey Luck, Ally Mackay, and Frankie Sparrowhawk, MarthaGunn seamlessly weave passionate energies and vulnerable lyrics into dazzling, lush, wall-of-sound style worlds of sonic wonder. Their first two EPs – 2019’s Love & Emotion and 2020’s Caught Up & Confused – highlight an expressive blend of rock and pop that instantly jumps off the proverbial page, catching listeners off-guard and luring us deep into the band’s inner sanctum. Every moment is memorable and full of substance: Consider it a kind of catchy catharsis that hits hard and heals.

One of the most exciting aspects of this record is that it’s still only the very beginning of MarthaGunn’s journey. “This record sums up our journey as a band so far,” frontwoman Abi Woodman tells Atwood Magazine. “We wanted it to reflect where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. It’s inspired by the relationships though your 20s and their highs and lows. The record came to life deep in Devon in the summer of 2020. Making it felt like a really special moment for us as five friends.  We’ve worked hard to get to this point. Making the record felt like a celebration of that.”

Speaking to the creation process, she explains how at first, there was no “vision” going into the album. “As time went on and I became more consistent with the songs I was writing, it started to become apparent that they all shared a similar theme and sound. Once that started to happen we then discussed what I was actually writing about. Most of these songs are about navigating those early relationships in your 20s and learning about who you are. Some of us are in successful relationships, and some of us have grown apart from people we thought were important to us. Once I had realised what I’d been writing about, it then made it a lot easier to focus on finishing the record as I knew what to focus the lyrics on. All of these songs were written in the past three years, of which time I’ve been single and reflecting on the past as I try and learn more about myself and what it is that I want from my future.”

MarthaGunn © 2021
MarthaGunn © 2021

MarthaGunn stand out from their peers for any number of reasons, one among them being the band’s charged rock-band-meets-pop-songs approach. Big hooks and deep grooves rise to the fore, with Woodman’s exceptionally emotive voice soaring alongside churning electric guitars, pulsing bass licks, and driving, dramatic drum work. With feverish beds of rich instrumentation filling the soundscape with palpable feeling, Something Good Will Happen can be likened to albums like Atwood artist-to-watch Soda Blonde’s debut album Small Talk, MisterWives’ multiple critically acclaimed records, Walk the Moon’s smash hit album TALKING IS HARD, and so on.

“I think it shows a lot of different sides to us,” Woodman reflects. “We started out as a rock band but as the years have gone on we have embraced our love for pop music, I’m also a huge fan of R&B, and so within this album I think you get a bit of everything.”

As for the title itself, Woodman says the phrase “Something Good Will Happen” is a longtime personal mantra and a sentiment she wanted to express boldly within and throughout the band’s first full-length effort. “For years I’ve often said to myself and Humphrey, “something good is gonna happen today.” I like to almost make magic happen. Sometimes when it feels things are a bit stale or not going how you’d planned, it’s amazing how quickly you can turn that around by simply changing your attitude. So this is almost a mantra, an affirmation. Humph and I were driving around Brighton one day thinking of an album name and he mentioned this. We were going to call it something good is gonna happen but as that is a Kate Bush lyric, we thought best to change it slightly. Although, it’s still a massive nod to her. What a woman.”

MarthaGunn © 2021
MarthaGunn © 2021

From the upheaval that starts the album off on the moody and moving opener “Undone,” straight through to the vivid, achingly emotional finale “The Nights Are Long,” Something Good Will Happen is filled with special songs and catchy moments we’re sure to come back to time and again. Songs like “Caught Up & Confused” and “It’s Over” from the last EP remain strong highlights of MarthaGunn’s creative strength, whilst singles like “Holding the Fire,” Minute of My Time,” and “Giving In” find the band roaring full of fiery, fresh harmonies, searing choruses, and buoyant guitars. The latter is an especially evocative display of pure talent, finding Woodman dwelling in a space of emotional turbulence:

Trying to keep myself together
No one needs to know
If I’m falling into pieces
I’m too proud to let it show
I can’t win, I’ve been patient
I’ve been holding on without a word for weeks
It aint like me to be so quiet
I’d rather carry this alone than let you see
I’m not giving in, can’t escape what I’m living in
Deep inside well I hate for you to see me when I’m half of who I’ve been
But I’m not giving in, can’t escape what I’m living in
Even though you tell me all the time it aint that hard to keep on standing by my side

The band cite their own highlights as well. “‘Lost In The Moment’ is a firm favourite for everyone,” Woodman affirms. “I think ‘See You Again’ is also a very special moment. It feels incredible to write an album because up until now we’ve had to think about singles. This album has given us the time and space to truly express ourselves without worrying about singles.”

Diving deeper, she adds, “One of my favourite lyrics on the album is from ‘Lost In The Moment’: “Last night I drunk myself to sleep, thought I could make a better version of me, only to find when I awoke that there’s no way I’ll ever move on. Out in the night on my own, ready to take the next man that I see home. All of my emotions so closed, did you think I’d find it easy to let you go?” That’s actually an entire verse, but it’s one of my favourites. I was very honest here and it felt vulnerable writing it. When you truly connect with how you are feeling and put it into words, it feels like you’ve released something. It’s powerful. Cathartic.”

Whether you find solace in the explosive folds of “Raising Hell” or connect on a deeper level to the poignant story of “I Had to Let Go”; whether you get sustenance from the radiant shimmer of “Caught Up & Confused” or slip away into your own daydream thanks to the wondrous, filmic nature of “See You Again,” MarthaGunn are here to shepherd us through our own journeys – be they ones of inner turmoil, romance, self reckoning, or something else entirely.

MarthaGunn © 2021
MarthaGunn © 2021

At its heart, Something Good Will Happen is a soundtrack of and for the human spirit.

MarthaGunn’s eleven songs, each a world unto itself and yet all a piece of this larger connective puzzle built off vulnerability, honesty, endurance and staying power, resonate as sparks of inspiration and possibility.

“I hope people connect to this and it heals whatever heartache they are healing from,” Woodman shares. “I hope people learn from this that they should always follow their gut feeling and do what’s right for themselves. Walking away from something is painful but it can lead you to your truest self. I have learnt so much in writing this. It has almost been like a clearing of emotion. Almost like I’ve saved myself with these songs. I used to bounce from one relationship to the next but writing this has taught me that I love being single. I have learnt to fully enjoy my own company and I hope this record gives people the strength and courage to align with their highest self.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside MarthaGunn’s Something Good Will Happen with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!

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:: stream/purchase MarthaGunn here ::
Stream: ‘Something Good Will Happen’ – MarthaGunn

:: Inside Something Good Will Happen ::

Something Good Will Happen - MarthaGunn

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This song is about becoming undone, it doesn’t get much more direct. This song was the start of a new chapter for us as a band and for me personally. We wanted it to feel radical, it’s the furthest away from what you might expect of us. I had been broken down and this was the start of me rebuilding myself.

Caught Up An Confused

We call this song CUAC. I met this guy at a party. We danced all night and it was electric. I thought this was going to turn into something special but multiple dates later he unfortunately turned out to be not as good as the fantasy version I had created. Note to self – must stop falling in love with the character I build of someone in my head. He was someone who laid it on thick so when he stopped showing me affection I was left wanting more… I think there’s a word for this, is it love bombing? Anyway, I laid myself bare in this song and it felt cathartic.

Giving In

I wrote this with a good friend of mine, Will Bloomfield. We wrote this in his kitchen. It’s amazing what you can do with a guitar and a laptop on a kitchen table. Sometimes when things get emotionally heavy, it’s easy to shut yourself away, but it’s actually in those moments when you need to talk to the people closest to you. It’s amazing how quickly a conversation can turn your mental state around. This is one of the only songs on the record that has an acoustic guitar running through it, and I love how refreshing it sounds against all of our other songs.

It’s Over

This is one of my favourite songs. I had so much fun writing it. I basically wrote it as a bit of an experiment. I wanted to see how fun and upbeat I could make a song that was essentially about a break up. There are enough gloomy songs about love in the world (and I’ve written my fair share) so, I thought why not make it a positive thing. Break ups usually mean one or both parties have grown emotionally and therefore their worlds are not aligned anymore. That’s a great thing. I wanted an uplifting empowering song to give other people the courage to move away from toxic situations. I never get tired of singing and playing this song.

Raising Hell 

This one was a journey. It started out kinda like 80’s rock, we lost steam and forgot about it for a while. We were beginning a process of challenging what we were as a band. When we revisited ‘Raising Hell’, we had evolved sonically as a band. We didn’t want to just be a rock band, there are so many things that influence us that we want to lean into. It feels much more pop than it started. The vocal sample in the second verse is the only part of the original demo that we kept. It’s funny, we had to grow out of our comfort zone before we could come back to the song. It was also hugely inspired by The Weeknd.

Lost in the Moment

This was a total lights off, dark room, late night bare my soul moment. I feel like it’s the most honest i’ve ever been with myself in a song. It was scary at first but I’ve learnt that the things that make you feel uncomfortable to say are normally the most important ones to say. I’d been starved of love in a past relationship, so, around this time it’s safe to say I was longing for affection. I was partying a lot and having a blast but I was definitely acting out of character. I actually went to Paris to tell someone I had feelings for them. It wasn’t a terrible idea but definitely something out of the ordinary for me. I guess I was trying to fill a void. Watching this song come to life in the studio was so exciting. It is collectively our favourite song on the record and sums up everything the record encapsulates.

Minute of My Time

Time is all we’ve got. Surround yourself with people that support you, encourage you and give you life, not suck it out of you. This song was inspired by setting yourself boundaries. Time is precious. It’s our synth banger on the album, the chorus literally used to just be the synth line! It was only when Kev Jones our A&R said “write a chorus top-line over the synth line” that it became a full song.

I Had to Let Go

This song is heavily inspired by Prince. It’s not my story, I wrote it with my friend Jonny – I wanted to write from a different perspective so we wrote about something he’d been through. Even though it was his experiences, I truly felt every word as if I had been through it too.

Holding The Fire 

Written in my family home with my brother, we made this dance house song that basically ended up being a MarthaGunn song. It sounds very different to how my brother and I started it. My brother came up with all the drums and synth lines. It feels special to have a song on the record that was written with him as he was the first musician I ever played my songs with. We used to gig together when we were teenagers so it’s nice to share this moment with him.

See You Again

This is about coming to terms with someone no longer being a part of your life. People move on, time zones get in the way, they find what they had in you, in someone else. It’s heart breaking but in a good way. Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened! (Still sucks though).

The Nights Are Long 

Born in remote Wales late at night. It was a beautiful moment. We captured the whole song that evening. We had thrown every idea at it and left it, not knowing if there was actually a song there. Finishing it felt like collaging. Humph spent hours going through every vocal (we often hit record and just let a stream of conscious flow out for hours). Everything was there, the pieces just needed making sense of. This always made sense as the album ender. It felt like the emotional climax of everything that  had lead us to this moment.

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:: stream/purchase MarthaGunn here ::

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Something Good Will Happen - MarthaGunn

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