“World Without Borders” b/w “Boys in the Bushes”
Current/RCA Records WAKE 2 (Canada)
Released probably in winter or spring 1983
Produced by Daniel Lanois with Mark Gane and Martha Johnson

Martha and the Muffins released two more album tracks for the second single to promote Danseparc. Opening with two thumps on the drums, “World Without Borders” (a Gane-Johnson composition) is maybe the closest the Muffins came to an anthemic mid-tempo rocker. Did Current Records hear dollar signs in the vaguely Alex Lifeson-esque churn of Mark Gane’s opening chords? Martha’s lyrics acknowledge and reject the Cold War anxiety that pervaded the times. “I AM SINGING,” she belts out in the pre-chorus, and, yeah, she really is; the confidence and (a word I’d never use previously) brassiness of her vocals are almost startling. Then the chorus goes dreamy, as the band lands upon that affective sweet spot “between sleep and reason” (to quote from the band’s next album) that they had begun to deliver with great frequency in this period. Mark arranges a tour de force of guitar tones on “World Without Borders” (indeed the whole Danseparc album), and there’s some great soprano sax by Ron Allen, who gets some bagpipe-like tones toward the end.

A Mark Gane composition, “Boys in the Bushes” predates Martha and the Muffins’ prior album, This Is The Ice Age. Continuing in the lyrical vein of stories taken from the road, it recalls the band’s visit to San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park on their spring 1981 tour. As Mark explained on a promotional interview LP:

Somebody said there was this great park that had a great view of the city, so we went to it, and it ended up to be a park where a lot of people went to have sex. There we were, overlooking this wonderful view of San Francisco, and down on the hillside were all sorts of people doing a lot of different things. It was obviously a very uncool place to go unless that’s what you were going for. Obviously, we were looking like real tourists. Basically that’s what the song is about, the discovery that no matter how cool you are, you inevitably run into situations where you look like a tourist. I also used things I noticed about tourists in Toronto, that you can spot a tourist a mile away because they always seem to be looking up at things. Anybody who lives in the city walks straight ahead, either looking at the ground, or half-way between eye level and the ground. And a tourist seems to be seeing things in the air which nobody else who lives in the city has ever noticed. That in Toronto is a dead giveaway for a tourist, so I threw that in as well.

“Boys in the Bushes” could be a Ze Record, so well does it capture that no wave party funk of James Chance, A Certain Ratio, or the Bush Tetras (a favorite of Jocelyne Lanois, whose funky bass playing is pronounced here). If the tune isn’t quite there, the arrangement intrigues with unexpected turns. “Boys in the Bushes” gathers what’s likely the biggest musical cast in the studio for any Muffins recording to date, including two saxophonists, an extra keyboardist and percussionist, and an unspecified number of male and female voices (“Bentones/Bentonettes”). Mark and Martha may have gotten a taste for the musical possibilities that bandleaders of hired musicians enjoy.


The 7″ catalogue:
Martha and the Muffins – “Insect Love” b/w “Suburban Dream” (MM 001)
Martha and the Muffins – “Insect Love” b/w “Cheesies and Gum” (DIN 4)
Martha and the Muffins – “Echo Beach” b/w “Teddy The Dink” (DIN 9)
Martha and the Muffins – “Saigon” b/w “Copacabana” (DIN 17)
Martha and the Muffins – “Paint By Number Heart” b/w “Copacabana” (VS 1115)
Martha and the Muffins – “About Insomnia” b/w “1 4 6” (DIN 19)
Martha and the Muffins – “Suburban Dream” b/w “Girl Fat” (DIN 21)
Martha and the Muffins – “Was Ezo” b/w “Trance And Dance” (DIN 27)
Martha and the Muffins – “Women Around The World at Work” b/w “Twenty-Two in Cincinnati” (DIN 34)
Martha and the Muffins – “One Day in Paris” b/w “Women Around the World at Work” (104.209)
Martha and the Muffins – “Swimming” b/w “Little Sounds (Excerpts)” (VS 1136)
Martha and the Muffins – “Danseparc (Everyday It’s Tomorrow)” b/w “Whatever Happened to Radio Valve Road” (WAKE 1)
Martha and the Muffins – “World Without Borders” b/w “Boys in the Bushes” (WAKE 2)
Martha and the Muffins – “Several Styles of Blonde Girls Dancing” b/w “I’m No Good at Conversation” (WAKE 4)
M+M – “Black Stations/White Stations” b/w “Xoa Oho” (WAKE 7)
M+M – “Cooling the Medium” b/w “Big Trees” (WAKE 8)
M+M – “Song In My Head” b/w “Riverine” (WAKE 14)
M+M – “Someone Else’s Shoes” b/w “Million Dollars” (WAKE 16)
M+M – “Only You” b/w “Watching the Boys Fall Down” (WAKE 18)