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

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Villiers – The Dancer

  villiers

    The Dancer is the new single from UK rock band Villiers, a song which embraces sounds of the eighties in modern evocative textures. It is a striking if not startling introduction to the Lancashire trio, one which strengthens its magnetism and fascination over each play whilst parading a rich potential and potent craft which only engages thoughts and an early appetite for the band’s horizons.

Villiers came to be in 2011, taking influences from the likes of New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen into their ideation with lyrical inspirations come from dystopian writers such as J.G Ballard and George Orwell. A trio of EPs, Light the Fuse, Into the Haze, and VLRS have drawn acclaim and attention the way of the band whilst live Villiers has equally enhanced their statue and reputation in support and headlining shows as well as a successful appearance at BeatHerder alongside Clean Bandit, TOY, Temples, Chic ft Nile Rodgers and Groove Armada last year. The Dancer makes the next intriguing step in the ascent of Dan Earnshaw (vocals/bass/synths), Ben Earnshaw (vocals/guitar/synths), and Daniel Buckle (drums/percussion), one sure to draw new fans and voices their way.

Shadows and moody textures wrap around ears from the first breath of the song, their dark caress instantly reminding of John Foxx and in villiers covermany ways OMD. It is a strongly emotive electronic mist which envelops the imagination, sparking emotions as it persists in charming and provoking the senses through the heart of the song. Vocally the band is expressive singularly and with choice harmonies but it is the slowly swirling electronic wash and tender guitar temptation which steals the passions most potently.

The track does not ignite at times as you expect or delve into the darkest melancholic depths as also assumed occasionally, but glides gracefully on an even keel across its poetic landscape. To be honest a twist into one of the more extreme premises would have stirred up a welcome fire but with a wonderful resonance to the rhythms and drama to the track as a whole it is hard to be critical or any more demanding

Also holding essences of Editors and The Cure in its provocative body, The Dancer is another promising and appealing step in the emergence of Villiers, one of many more to come we are sure.

The Dancer is out 16th June on Jack to Phono Records

https://www.facebook.com/VILLIERSBAND

7.5/10

RingMaster 12/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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