29/ 06/ 17
Louder Than War’s Roxy Gillespie listens to the self-titled debut from South East London band Madonnatron and finds a cauldron of sinister excellence and atmospheric post-punk.
Madonnatron are a fairly recent addition to the excellent Trashmouth family and a very good one at that. The band have already made waves and received a lot of radio airplay from the likes of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on their BBC 6 Music slots. Their self-titled debut was always going to be something to pique the interest, and it does not disappoint.
The album starts with both the well-received singles Headless Children and Sangue Neuf. Both tracks have a sinister post-punk/ psychedelic feel. Madonnatron’s music has a beautiful angst and real feeling, and these tracks are no exception, with Headless Children being especially atmospheric. Sangue Neuf, the first single Madonnatron released, is more forceful, but still an excellent track.
Tron features some fine vocals, making the most of the multiple vocalists in the band the fairly simple rhythms are perfect. The moodiness Madonnatron do so well remains a constant.
There is a great, if sparse, electronic introduction to Be My Bitch before the vocals kick in like the voice of the coven. The ladies again hit the dark side and draw you in to their underworld. The track really kicks in as the rhythm speeds up, becoming more and more insistent before dissolving into a harpy-haze of vocals at the end.
Glen Closer has a stalkerish brilliance continuing the off-kilter feel of the lyrical content – these are no love songs. There is no female subservience on show here; The woman in Glen Closer is preditory.
The spoken word aspect of Violent Denial gives the track an interesting twist, but even with the higher pitched vocals, the sense of unease that typifies Madonnatron’s output remains.
Mother’s Funeral is a rock rollercoaster with some fabulous breathy-yet-shouted vocals. The slower section only re-enforces the force of the faster sections, cranking up the energy.
Slow and solid, the rhythm is pure blues-rock on Bad Woman. More outsider-girl lyrics push this confessional of a song to another level. Once the speed picks up, the track gets even more interesting.
The vocals on Wedding Song are more regular blues-based and very good indeed. The track is fairly short, but another gem.
Cat lady has a hazier feel to the vocals and is slower and the vocals sweeter, but there remains a dusky element to the lyrics. Another impressive track on a winner of an album; the song of the siren.
As a whole the album hangs together fantastically well. Produced by Liam D May and mixed by Liam and Luke E May, the album retains the bite and occassional savagery of Madonnatron’s live performance.
If you feel threatened by women who pull no punches, then Madonnatron will have you snivelling under the bedclothes screaming out for Mummy. As the girls themselves would say, “We won’t be making you a sandwich motherfuckers.” If you love ladies who like to explore the darker, stronger side of femininity with their stunning, atmospheric post-punk then you should have this on pre-order because you may struggle to find a better album release this year. It will be unlikely to leave my turntable for long and has hit the shortlist for album of the year.
See Madonnatron live:
July 7 – London Luxford Bar, Peckham, London (Fairbets fundraiser)
July 29 – The Windmill, Brixton, London
August 17-20 – Green Man Festival, Glanusk Park