The latest LP to emerge from the grotty storehouse of Trashmouth Records (Fat White Family, Warmduscher) comes courtesy of Madonnatron. It’s called Musica Alla Puttanesca, and what a fine title that is. The music’s not half bad either - tracks like ‘Sucker Punch’ have taken Trashmouth’s grizzled garage-rock sound and glued it together with the airy post-punk-pop of The Cardigans. Good work all round.
Vinyl LP £15.87 TMR16LP
Translucent blue vinyl LP on Trashmouth Records.
- Shipping cost: £3.35 ?
- Coloured vinyl
- Only 1 copy left
CD £11.99 TMR16CD
CD on Trashmouth Records.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Madonnatron are one of a few regulators and maintainers of peace in the musical landscape of today. They are the real deal. In the past, they've made blackened, road-worn psych rock full of close vocal harmonies and thunderous drums, but 'Musica Alla Puttanesca', their second LP, is a more expansive affair.
Upon hearing banging disco opener 'Goodnight Little Empire' I had to check the disc to see if it was still the 'Tron, but to my delight it was. It’s a bit like Goldfrapp at their most exultant, but it remains completely their own.
Don't get me wrong, this is a pretty weird album. The strength and synergy of the vocal harmonies and instrumentation conjures (at least to me) an image of a hydra with the heads of Madonnatron so fully realised is this togetherness. Furthermore, each song is different in its own way but they share some distinct commonalities: those marvellous harmonies, a sense of groove, and the way that they can marry the mundane with the macro. Take, for instance, the opener's lyrics taking in not only 'Strictly Come Dancing' but also the dissolution of imperialism (it's called 'Goodnight Little Empire'). The spoken word piece on 'Bone Dumb Grunt' (surely in contention for best song name of the year) is a sickly-sweet dissection of some men's inability to clear up after themselves while also playing on some weird androgynous tensions; imagine Lana Del Rey if she’d been weaned on a diet of Esquivel!, Arthur Lyman, and Susan Bordo.
God there are so many brilliant bits of this album. The lyrics identify and interrogate tensions in gender and sexuality, as well as the interplay of the mundane and the macro. There are lots of different elements sonically that are used to great effect, like the wailing trumpet on ‘Elizabeth Taylor’, the knowingly overdone breathy vocals on ‘Bone Dumb Grunt’, the triumphant chorus of ‘Goodnight Little Empire’, and the clicky, skittering drum machine on ‘Venus & Rahu’.
I could really go on and on about this album. It’s whimsical, aggressive, fun, triumphant, but I can only really recommend you just go listen to it. To press a probably poorly chosen metaphor to breaking point, Madonnatron is the hydra whose regeneration feature doesn’t require physical degradation to be activated - with the coming of every album, it just seems to happen. That was laboured. I apologise.
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