Saturday, 9 April 2016

MAYFLOWER MADAME – OBSERVED IN A DREAM (Night Cult Records/Custom Made Music LP, C/D, D/L).

We were first introduced to Norwegian Neo-Psychedelic band Mayflower Madame when US boutique label Custom Made Music released the tracks ‘Into The Haze’/ ‘Confusion Hill’ as a limited edition, cassette only, single some twelve months ago. Originally a self-released single in 2013, ‘Into The Haze’ had 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 fantastic track received some great reviews when first released. The b-side ‘Confusion Hill’ was a new track and had a 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”. Mayflower Madame had 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 among 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 now 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). A year on and the band have a soon to be released debut album of deeply atmospheric Post Punk Psychedelia which, like their previous releases, still channels Echo & The Bunnymen, Bauhaus, The Chameleons, The Cure and Spacemen 3 along with newer bands such as Night Beats and The Warlocks.

Mayflower Madame’s first long player, Observed In A Dream, exists in a narcotic netherworld where songs of a sinister beauty emerge from a psychedelic haze. Opening with the lysergic swirl of the previously mention ‘Confusion Hill’, Observed In A Dream is an absolutely brilliant record, infused with all the dark intensity of the great 80s Psych/Goth records but not sounding out of place with any of the more recent Psych releases. Amongst eight tremendous tracks there are a few that really stand out…………’Lovesick’ is not unlike Echo & The Bunnymen covering Bauhaus with sparkling guitars blended with a real sense of menace while ‘Weightless’ absolutely shimmers with glacial guitars and ‘Into The Haze (Redux)’ is a reworking of the original single with some extra muscle added. ‘Observed In A Dream’ conveys “a shadowy and tumultuous world, sometimes ecstatic and noisy, but always indulging the soothing charms of melody”. Thematically, the album is about endings and the fluctuating, passing states of relationships and life itself. “From the smouldering serenity of ‘Confusion Hill’ through the feverish ‘Lovesick’ and the vivid ‘Weightless’ to the closing ‘Forever / The End of Everything’, the album reveals different stages of a partly subconscious journey and its accompanying feelings of obsession, anxiety, instability and longing”.

Mayflower Madame release their debut album on 22nd  April on CD, vinyl and digital download via their own label Night Cult Records in Europe and Custom Made Music in North America. Check the various websites/Facebook pages for availability.


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