Damn if this isn’t the single sexiest band I’ve heard in years. This is the kind of band who’s music belongs in Guy Richie and Quentin Tarantino movies, oozing the kind of outlaw cool one can find with Tito & Tarantula, Dick Dale and his Del Tones, Booker T and the MGs and The Kills. The echoes of a tired and sickly punk resonate somewhere in the background, in the tremolo and reverb, in the leather jackets and the slightly off-synched way the singer sometimes performs, lagging a bit behind the rhythm, like a drunken stumble, cool and slightly tragic at the same time.
I discovered Madrugada – another Norwegian band, I mean, seriously, how can these people excel at so many musical genres?! – thanks to a friend going through a rough patch and spamming Facebook with messages and music. I mentioned them before, when I wrote about Morphine, as I feel a connection there, a sort-of synergy of wavelengths, although Madrugada has a bit more bite, a bit more rock’n’roll to Morphine’s Jack Kerouak. This band provides some of the most lush background for complex things to feel – complex and yet grounded, like simultaneously loving and finding it very hard to stand someone in particular, like hating yourself so much that you start doing something, out of sheer survival instinct, which leads you to a renewed sense of self-respect.
This R.E.M./Morphine hybrid also provides some of the most searing, chaotic, enthralling, gritty tunes I’ve ever heard. Just listen to the furious, shaky riff in Nightly Disease, Part II, distorted and dizzying, like inebriation, nauseating and consuming. Or, for that matter, the slow, throbbing bass line in Only when you’re gone, one of the hottest, darkest, most suffocating love songs I’ve ever heard. This is music I don’t want to yap a lot about, it just feels wrong. I guess I just agree with a certain saying I heard sometime, somewhere – “talking about sex is like dancing about architecture”. Madrugada fits the bill on this respect. Think about the personal, almost whispered vocals, about the blurred outlines of melodies they weave, about the breathing room in so many of their songs, the games they play with silence, and you’ll probably feel like I do – this music is intimate, nocturnal, private.
I chose this album in particular because it’s the first one I listened to, no other reason. As far as I can tell, much like Morphine, all their albums are great. So give Madrugada a chance, and a shot of moonshine if you’ve got any – they disbanded in 2008 after a farewell tour in the wake of Robert Burås’ death. He was one of the most inspired, distinctive and musically disciplined guitar players I’ve heard in a long time. Enjoy!