If you haven’t heard London all-girl quartet Madonnatron and you’re expecting from their name some kind of vivacious, day-glo punk/synth/pop thing with subject matter scattered between myths, legends, and things that would make your Grandad blush, then frankly you’d be spot on the money.
If lead off single Sucker Punch caught your ear, you may well have some Idea of what you’re in for. Big chorus’, squealy synth work, riot grrl attitude and huge stinging guitar riffs and solos are the order of the day, as the ladies move through a set of instantly loveable tracks that hone their sound as (if I were to throw a load or 80s comparisons at them, as is my want) though Bananarama had a breakdown, took on the Banshees as their backing band (Siouxsie providing the odd backing vocal) and started doing rough covers of Cure and Cramps songs. And if that doesn’t sound like just about the best thing ever, then you’re in the wrong place.
Moving away from the tales of dystopian stalking and associated hobbies, on Musica Alla Puttanesca the band tackle subjects including (but not limited to) gangsta pimps, Hindu God wars, Cyber Men invasion, loveless nightclub hook-ups, modern Italian Nabokov, as well as, well, Elizabeth Taylor. They wrap everything up in a wry humour, focusing on their skewed version of the world as if it were the norm, which by the end of the album, it seems to be.
But there’s more to Madonnatron than quirkiness. The music has this fearlessness about it – daring to make a post punk record and put string and brass into it (the sci-Fi thriller of NightRes in Silver being prime culprit) and a nod to X-Ray Spex with the added Sacophone on the brilliantly Super Hands.
From the opener, the fun-filled frothy Bone Dumb Grunt, right through to the mantra like theatric seems fun Venus & Rahu, Madonnatron toy with the listener, contrasting the light of Sweet Serena, with the dark, almost suffocating Flesh Pond, with the taught anger of Super Hands, all wrapped up in melodies and chorus’ to hand on for dear life to. And in the glow in the dark Liminal Madonnatron have written something which shows everything great about them, and pop music.
Long live Madonnatron