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Saturday, 4 April 2015
MALKA – THE CONSTANT STATE (D/L). MAYFLOWER MADAME – INTO THE HAZE (Custom Made Records Cassette Single)
Coming straight outta NYC (via Peru), Malka construct majestic soundscapes of crystalline, shimmering beauty from swirling guitars and waves of synth washes which they combine with a solid Indie Rock structure to create epic sounding songs. Taking influence more from the cool, clean sounds of bands like M83 and Sigur Ros, as opposed to the squalling, distorted mayhem of the classic Jesus & Mary Chain “wall of sound meets wall of noise” approach, the Psych tinged Indie Rock/Dreampop four piece have released a very impressive first EP, The Constant State, which takes a genre-melding journey, constantly ebbing and flowing, through the otherworldly landscapes of Dreampop, Nugaze and Psychedelic Rock. There are some great songs on this EP……….with an early 90s feel, the opening track, the radio friendly ‘A Flock Of Crows’ is possibly the most straight forward Indie Rock style tune out of the seven tracks here and has hints of the jangle pop of early Chapterhouse. Of the other tracks ‘Diamond Girl’ with its screaming guitar coda is particularly good, as is the blissed out Dreampop of ‘Mientras Se Respira’ (one of two songs sung in Spanish). The stand out track is ‘For Now We Live’, a reverb soaked Explosions In The Sky style epic where soaring guitars build and build to a massive crescendo before falling back to earth.
The Constant State EP is currently available as a download only…….but we can imagine that this very classy EP will be picked up by someone for a proper release very soon. Check it out at the Malka bandcamp page https://malkanyc.bandcamp.com/.
Whereas Malka take their influences from the early 90s and the more recent “Dream-Gaze” bands (is that a genre????), Mayflower Madame from Oslo, Norway go back much further into the dark heart of early 80s Post-Punk Neo-Psychedelia for inspiration. Mayflower Madame have tapped into a generally unsung period in the evolution of Psych Rock…….although many of the bands from this time ended up being put in a box marked “Goth Rock”, they were the first psychedelic revivalists. The early 80s were interesting times as after the Punk year zero everything was in flux and the myriad of genres that followed had still to take their full form………in this environment Punk bands were discovering what are now considered to be the Psych-Rock cornerstones (the Velvet Underground, the first Doors album, Forever Changes by Love, Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilation etc. etc. etc.) and absorbed these sounds. From this came the first wave of Neo-Psychedelic bands which included the more obvious psychedelic bands like The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & The Bunnymen, Robyn Hitchcock’s brilliant The Soft Boys and the darker proto Goth bands like The Cult, The Lemon Kittens, The Cure and Siouxsie & The Banshees (plus a special mention for the Cure/Banshees spin off, the acid fried The Glove)……………and from Mayflower Madame’s first release for Custom Made Records, a limited edition cassette featuring their debut single ‘Into The Haze’ along with the psychedelic, mind bending B-side ‘Confusion Hill’, it is certainly evident that they have been influenced by this era.
Originally a self-released single in 2013, ‘Into The Haze’ has echoes of the Heaven Up Here period Bunnymen.....with lots of reverb and delay, the clear, cutting tones of Will Sargent-esque guitars slice through tribal drumming and portentous bass. This is a great track and received some great reviews when first released. ‘Confusion Hill’ is a new track and has much darker vibe comparable to when Siouxsie & Banshees plunged into full-on psychedelia around the time of their A Kiss In The Dreamhouse album or the period before Robert Smith started making pop singles.
Look for the band’s debut album coming in spring of 2015, but in the meantime the Into The Haze limited edition cassette single is available to buy from the Custom Made Records web page and there are still a few copies of the original Into The Haze EP on 12” vinyl for sale on Mayflower Madame’s Bandcamp page http://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com/