Can you have too much of a good thing? Is there a point when you need to cut yourself off from the things that you do, even when they make you feel good? In the title track of her new EP Summer Up North, Newcastle-based Martha Hill confronts the demons of her own reality and reflects on summer days spent up in the north. “Don’t you take me down this road,” she warns. “You’ve been howling with your ghosts.”

Martha Hill’s new EP is a quintet of songs recorded during quarantine that pay homage to the lost days of a ‘normal’ summer: “It’s a story about summer life in Newcastle…a lot of parties, festivals, cycling about, walks up cow hill, hanging out on doorsteps in the west end, in and out of each other’s houses, eating samosas, drinking tinnies in the park, shan house parties, overdoing it, coming down, taps aff, having a laugh,” Hill describes.

When you compare that packed itinerary to life in quarantine, such activities like, “dreaming up a Rubik’s cube”, “white walls, pot plants, television romance” inevitably seem a little dull. “Sick of the sound of the same shit rolling around in my brain,” Hill mourns. It’s an odd thing for ‘simpler times’ to feel far more exhilarating, but in reality the times are impossible to compare. So why bother burdening yourself pining for them? “Woke up coked up hoping no-one would remember my name / Holed up in your living room to escape my brain.” But as quick as Hill is to reminisce, she’s just as ready to console. “Go easy on yourself,” she adds overtop a twangy guitar.

“Summer Up North” is more stripped down than some of Hill’s previous singles, but in the best way. In less mature hands the message of the song could easily feel like someone wallowing in self-pity, but the sense of melancholic retrospectivity that characterizes the song feels refreshingly forward-looking. “Don’t you take me down this road,” she repeats again for good measure. “You’ve been howling with your ghosts.” After all, quarantine did produce this delight from her.

“Summer Up North” is a true highlight from Martha Hill’s anticipated EP dropped just last month. The impressive songwriter emerges with yet another anthem, a reminder that even when you’re holed up in your room with nothing to do but ache for better days, it’s all going to be alright. I’m truly excited to hear what she has to offer next.