Martha's Trouble, "Anchor Tattoo"

With its 10th album, "Anchor Tattoo," the Alabama-based husband-and-wife duo Martha's Trouble continues to intensify the mystery as to why it remains a hidden gem. Jen Slocumb's sweet voice and guitarist Rob Slocumb's gentle strumming, which, along with just enough keyboard accompaniment to create a polished pop sound, evoke comparisons to 10,000 Maniacs' best work. Ultimately, the pair's uncommon talent for contagious hooks is the set's star, highlighted by the uptempo and melodic "I Saw an Angel," "The Hiding" and "Red Door" (the last of which rerecorded with lusher production after first appearing on the act's 2008 EP). The twosome is equally adept at stripped-down ballads, with "I Will Wait" a Valentine's Day love-letter-in-song. Having released its last full-length recording, the standout "Forget October" (2004), the couple has since welcomed sons Wilson (5) and Emery (3). Unsurprisingly, Martha's Trouble's soothing, optimistic air has only deepened on "Anchor Tattoo," which leaves keen triple A radio programmers no excuse not to mine the album for multiple hits.

- Album Review