Martha Skye Murphy's "Need" Pulses Like an Ember in Ice

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BY Kaelen BellPublished Apr 17, 2024

If there's one thing you can expect from Martha Skye Murphy, it's that she'll leave you a little dizzy, your feet sliding even on solid ground. The UK songwriter's work to date has been a slow drip, a carefully curated collection of songs that manage to take a consistent palette of colours — slate grey, burnished copper, charcoal and pearlescent white — and create a vivid world of sound and feeling.

The latest dispatch from her shadowy, in-between place is "Need." It's classic Murphy in execution — chilling, stormy, equal parts glass and stone — but it's the first time that it could be said, with little argument, that she's written a love song. Though it opens on imagery of a surgeon's chair, holes blown through mountains and bodily injury, Murphy quickly softens; "I like it when you play with my hair / Pulling me close / Then staying there," she sings in a wavering falsetto, her voice landing like icy raindrops against the glistening keys beneath.

"I need you to need me / to need you," she pleads, her voice joined by Roy Montgomery, silvery sweeps of guitar building in steadily unraveling momentum. Murphy's world is never gentle, but amid the fear and wet discomfort that courses through "Need" is a throbbing ember of warmth, a love that's burning through Murphy's darkened membrane.


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