When at their best, Martly is what you would get if you took The Smashing Pumpkins' onetime front man Billy Corgan and crazy-glued him to the members of Oasis (which is to say, the Beatles). You would end up with some decent hooks, a mostly-serviceable rock voice, and a space-age polymer strong enough to suspend a man in mid-air!
Oh, I tease, but I'm not writing them off. No, Martly's latest album hits its stride perfectly with the song "Strange Fascination," a catchy ditty far better than most pop songs found on the boy-band-infested radio dial. The guitars are tight, the harmonies perfect, and their half-smiles/half-sneers are positioned just-so. (This is an "Enhanced CD" that comes complete with a Quicktime video of this song, so you can judge their smile-to-sneer ratio for yourself. The Enhanced CD is a nifty little bonus Martly gives to their fans, and it has yet to crash my computer, which is a gift in itself these days.)
"Her Story" is also incredible — truly great. It's the kind of pop song that will make you bludgeon your head against a brick wall repeatedly because no matter what, you just can't get it out of your head. But I mean that as a compliment. Really.
Not all the songs find their mark, however. The lyrically-intriguing "Columbus," a song bemoaning getting stuck in Columbus Day vacation traffic (seriously!), has a fair grove to it, but isn't extraordinary. Menacingly named songs like "Stop" and "Scream" are just okay, but mostly resemble filler.
In final analysis, of the nine songs on Fascination, two are truly great and maybe three others are likeable enough. Uneven, perhaps, but the highs overshadow the lows. It's worth a listen.