Mayflower Madame – Observed in a Dream

MayflowerMadame_RingMasterReview

When looking back at the end of the year, we suspect that April will be noted as one of the most fruitful months for stunning albums, with a great many of them striking debuts. To a list running into double figures we can add the outstanding first full-length from Norwegian band Mayflower Madame. The band’s sound is a captivating weave of post punk, shoegaze, and psych rock textures but given its own distinct character by the imagination of the Oslo quartet, and Observed in a Dream a release which commands attention with a presence slightly nostalgic but as fresh as the dew on a spring morning, and as radiant.

Formed in 2011, Mayflower Madame has already drawn potent attention and praise with the Into the Haze EP in 2013 and last year their single Lovesick. Comparisons to bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Bauhaus, Spacemen 3, and The Jesus & Mary Chain have readily been offered, and understandably with the band’s provocative dark and sensuous sound. Live they have earned a strong reputation too, sharing stages with the likes of Crystal Stilts, Night Beats, La Femme, Disappears, Crocodiles, and Moon Duo along the way and making successful appearances at Norway’s largest festivals, Oya and Norwegian Wood. Now released on their own Night Cult Records and Custom Made Music in North America, Observed in a Dream is ready to wake up the biggest and most attentive spotlights upon the band.

As soon as opener Confusion Hill envelops ears it is a success easy to imagine, and then be sure of as each track seduces imagination and appetite. The first song emerges from a haunted atmosphere with already slightly portentous shadows to its air. Its approaching tempest though is quickly turned into a strolling seduction upon arrival, psych and surf rock flavours shining, almost sighing, over the infectious darkly hued prowl of Petter Gudim Marberg’s bass and Ola Jørgen Kyrkjeeide’s crisp beats. The guitars of Rune Øverby and Trond Fagernes swiftly spin a bed of evocative colour and suggestiveness too as the latter’s also quickly impressing vocals lay emotively upon the strands of sound. It is easy to see where those Bauhaus and Jesus & Mary Chain references come from, though the bigger and bolder the song becomes it reminds more of Gene Loves Jezebel, echoes and resonance on voice and melodies a delicious shimmer.

art_RingMasterReviewAn outstanding start is still eclipsed by its successor Lovesick, a song which plays second fiddle to no one. From its beguiling dark rock ‘n’ roll strum, the song canters along with a devilish swing led by another highly flavoursome throaty bassline and catchy riffery matched by flirtatious beats. Think The Birthday Party meets Helldorado and Tones on Tails as a clue to the track’s virulent alchemy; a song with as much fascinating drama as it has addictive infectiousness.  Its exceptional incitement is as good as matched by that of Self-Seer; another track rolling along on an enslaving rhythmic tenacity and ingenuity. It explores a mellower climate of sound yet still has an energy and sonic clang to physically stir the spirit. If looking for another hint, Echo and The Bunnymen would be a suggestion for the otherwise unique rock ‘n’ roll of the mouth-watering proposal.

A sixties instrumental twang adds to the seduction of Upside Down (The Death Loop), guitars a sultry lure with again a surf rock like tone to their imagination whilst within their searing elegance a cinematic drama infests rhythms and hooks. As much as there is variety to the sound within Observed In A Dream, so too the vocals craft similar diversity, here harmonies glowing with a hazy beauty around the matching delivery of Fagernes.

Latest single Weightless rumbles in next, carrying a far heavier tone and intent in its creative espionage and welcome trespass. A Play Dead/ Sisters Of Mercy like breath soaks the song, its heavy shadows and provocative textures as invasive as they are seductive. Personally, it is not the song we would choose to lead into the release of Observed in a Dream with other more irresistible options, yet the song in its brief moment is a thrilling and rousing protagonist only making the appetite for album and sound greedier.

The calmer landscape and presence of Into The Haze (Redux) hugs ears next, the song a gentle but again lively adventure into noir lit pastures with more cinematic lures whilst the album’s title track, which follows, from a similar template casts its own tantalising and riveting psyche embedding web of sound and emotion which at times is like The Shadows in collusion with House Of Love and Flesh For Lulu.

The album closes with the psychedelically atmospheric Forever//The End Of Everything, a track which equally expresses post punk discord and causticity within its pulsating and bewitching theatre of sound and emotion. It is a powerful end to a tremendous first introduction to most of us to Mayflower Madame. They and Observed In A Dream grab attention, grip tighter with every pleasure giving twist and turn, and emerge as a reason why Mayflower Madame is one of the most exciting bands to make their mark on 2016 so far.

Observed In A Dream is out now via Night Cult Records in Europe and Custom Made Music in North America as an Ltd Ed vinyl, CD, and Download. All options available @ http://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame   https://www.instagram.com/mayflowermadame/

Pete RingMaster 29/04/2016

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Boyfrndz – Breeder

BOYFRNDZ selects (4 of 5)

Mere days after having van, cargo trailer, and all their equipment stolen in San Francisco midst their extensive  North America tour, Texas band Boyfrndz can at least give themselves and us a big boost with the release of new album Breeder on the first day of April. The release is an absorbing flight through unique climates and smouldering adventures employing a sound as ever distinct to the band and evocations which simply envelop and seduce the imagination. Breeder is a new innovative beast from previous band unveilings but still has that certain Boyfrndz voice as it stirs passions and sculpts captivating landscapes. Whereas previous releases blend a punchy indie craft to an intensive bite, the new album explores soaring melodies aligned to equally mesmeric vocals and expansive sonic exploration across provocative sceneries. It is a riveting encounter which draws thoughts and emotions in deeply with each traverse of its soundscapes, and more importantly a thoroughly compelling triumph.

Hailing from Austin, the band has earned acclaim and a rich fanbase through sound, shows, and their impressive releases. As mentioned Breeder is a different move in their inventive investigation, taking the essences which made the likes of their debut album All Day Pass of 2012 and last year’s Natures EP such formidable and satisfying propositions. Self-produced and engineered/mixed by Erik Wofford (Maserati, The Black Angels, White Denim), Breeder is a warm haven, like a beach of romantic seduction leading into varied melodically cast, often shadow kissed lands. Boyfrndz and their sound have always been defiant to labelling and certainly make it no easier for those who wish to add that tags with the new album. We can suggest though if the epic emotive potency of a Mars Volta or a Disappears catches your attention than this is an album which deserves your appetite.

Released via Brutal Panda Records, Breeder opens with an ambient intro which is haunting and yet coaxing in its sinister breath, keys boyfrndz_breeder_frontcovershaping thoughts and emotion with a dark menacing design. It is a heavy intensive opening which evolves without losing intent or weight into Each Others, a song which submerges senses in an invasive and heftily rewarding embrace. The vocals of Scott Martin and his guitar enterprise side by side with that of Jesse Moore immediately enslave, drawing thoughts deeper into the cavernous but equally intimate surroundings and depths of the narrative whilst the unpredictable rhythmic enticement built by drummer Aaron Perez aligned to the shadowed voice of Joseph Raines’ bass add keener textures and intrigue to the whole scenario.

The gripping unveiling of the album as its creative full height bears down on an awoken appetite, is swiftly reinforced by the dramatic breath and air of All At Once. The song is a range of subtle crescendos, emotive respites interspersed with powerful passion bred surges of sound and energy with every aspect a bewitching entwining of the imagination and the increasingly greedy hunger rising for the release. Its success is soon surpassed by the outstanding Shape Shifter, another song which brews a drama from its first emerging suasion which itself gives home to provocative shadows. The rhythmic juggling of Perez is instant magnetic bait which keeps the listener wrong footed as the smouldering air of the track through the guitars and the keys crafting of Moore, soaks pores and synapses. The entry of the celestial tones of Martin only accentuate the already Muse like feel to the song even though in truth his style is nearer to Cedric Bixler-Zavala if anyone. It is a temptress of a song, but one which lays a seducing touch around the body with fingers and a lure you just know is dangerous and only telling half the truth.

That Mars Volta suggestiveness comes back with stronger potency in Dark Braining though any reference is mere spicing to the unique Boyfrndz recipe. The song ebbs and flows across the senses, coating them in a thick melodic endeavour which is equally elegance and infectious, it’s often acidic and always charming ingenuity bordering toxic in its seducing and capture of the soul. The song is as fascinating in its progressively infused ingenuity as it is in its bordering on shoegaze rapture. It pushes limits with ease but in an easily accessible way, something which is achieved in a more testing way by the following Design with similarly impressive results. It opens with a celestial tempting which glances over the ear as the vocals glide with the first breath of its narrative. The peace is soon broken by a sonic surge of sound and energy which from there, shares air and space with its predecessor in a fluid ride of swirling melodies strapped to inciting rhythms and shimmering vocals. The course and depth of the song continues to enlist senses and imagination with resourceful aural contemplation making a provocation which takes longer than a great many to explore but lingers longer than most.

Both the muscular stance of Make Believe and the riotous causticity of Burn Through It, steal a fair chunk of the already ardour soaked passions, the first simply melody enriched alchemy within sinew built rhythmic walls and intensive sonic flames which tower over the agitated simmering and dramatic heart of the song. It is a glorious blaze matched by its successor, an encounter which from the first note is abrasing the senses with a blistered glaze to guitars and keys which fires up the exhaustive voracity of the song. Martin again opens up distinct avenues within the intent of the track; his harmonious tones a scintillating conflict and antagonist to the snarl of the great song.

The closing Big Faces provides a seemingly surf rock seeded melodic toxicity to its irresistible web of mystery and intrigue crossing a similarly magnetic pull of psychedelically enhanced persuasion. It is a stunning end to a sensational release. Boyfrndz has impressed before without really lighting fires in our thoughts  but with Breeder the band has set themselves as one of the essential investigations all should partake in whilst stealing a march on most with a definite album of the year contender.

To get yourself a copy of Breeder whilst helping the band regroup and complete as much of their tour as possible, check out their website http://www.Boyfrndz.com.

https://www.facebook.com/boyfrndz

https://www.boyfrndz.bandcamp.com

9/10

RingMaster 01/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Disappears: Era

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Over their five years of existence, Disappears has continually delved deep into their creative thoughts and stretched not only their limitations but the listeners, their recent abstract and challenging Kone EP a prime example. With Era, the fourth album from the Chicago band, there is not exactly a less adventurous experimentation going on but certainly a stripped down one which has a core seed driving its breath and intent. The seven track album is bred from early 80ʻs post punk, admittedly given the distinct rapaciously dark Disappears touch and a modern voraciousness but openly spawned from a suggested passion within the band for that period and aural bedding. It is a stunning release which has a foot in nostalgia and another in current noise artistry as it takes the senses on a chilling venture into light exhausting realms and emotive provocation.

Sculpting the album through an almost psychotically oppressive merger of dub, psyched fuelled repetition, and carnivorous post punk cold, the quartet of Brian Case, Damon Carruesco, Jonathan van Herik, and making his debut drummer Noah Leger, immediately throw a caustic web over the ear with Girl. Its slow dawning soon coaxed into greater life by the lone bass croon, which itself is soon immersed in a harsh sonic wash of guitar and effected vocals. There is an immediate sense of Public Image Limited to the stark and hoarse glaze which appeals strongly whilst the persistent haze of noise only adds to the concussive temptation, the repetitious squalling of vocals and sound furthering its strength yet again as the climax of the track scorches the air.

The following Power has a clearer sky to its presence, the tempestuous air of its predecessor replaced by a haunted blackened breath KRANK182_5x5_300dpiveined by a compelling bass narrative and the drum beats. Instantly riveting in this insistent design, the guitars bring an additional expressive hue to the provocative persuasion, their sonic colour pushing a sense of The Cure from around their second and third album to thoughts whilst the steely ice embrace caging it all seems bred from the heart of Joy Division.

Two tracks in and Era has already secured full physical and emotional involvement but an elevation of ardour is soon forced as both Ultra and the title track enslave and appease the now rife appetite further. The first of the pair from the off niggles with a steely stare from the guitars with a rhythmic beckoning which only enhances the thick lure. As the vocals slowly coat the engagement with gelid reserve, the repetitious stance of the track becomes a greater temptress, its minimalistic encroachment bringing a sense of Wire and early Killing Joke into play with the uniqueness of Disappears. Its successor continues in the same teasing persistently nagging way, riffs and hooks on repeat until they seduce down to the instinctive core without ever verging on annoyance though this time they are accompanied by a richer melodic colour dripping delicious discord and wrapped in a polar climate. Carrying a sense of Artery and Gene Love Jezebel to it, the track accentuates the diverse and enriching depths of the release. It may come with a frosty nature but works with resourcefulness on every aspect of the body and mind.

The exceptional Weird House steals top honours with its scintillating stroll of noise pop and pop punk revelry. Holding a swagger arguably missing on the other songs and equipped with a melodic sun that glistens off of the metallic sinews of the drums and compelling bass temptation, the song is a virulent infection on the senses. Again loaded with a singular course for its intent and with vocals that seem to swing with relish simultaneously to the slight wantonness of the song, there is an indefinable familiarity to the scintillating offering though once more you can suggest Wire as a source.

As Elite Typical rolls firmly through the ear with an early Gang Of Four cold scold and invention, and the closing stark expanse of the Joy Division/Colin Newmanesque New House invades every pore with its arctic noir kiss, Disappears ensures that Era is as potent and invasive at its tail as its head. There is a clarity and uncluttered voice to the album and all of its uniquely offered songs which alone sets the album apart from their other releases, but mostly it is the merciless entrancing presence and intensive suggestiveness which leaves no thought and emotion untouched. Rich in the essences of the past but stood rigorously in the present, the Kranky Records released Era is a stunning and exhilarating slice of tender desolation and melancholic joy. A definite album of the year contender too.

http://www.disappears.us/

9.5/10

RingMaster 26/08/2013

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