Oslo’s Mayflower Madame are back with a new album, Prepared for a Nightmare, after a lengthy absence. Following a ten-date tour of the US in May 2018, Premonition was released as a four-track offering of apocalyptic love songs that attracted press attention globally. After a hectic touring schedule, the long-awaited release of their second LP is finally here, much to the delight of fans. The physical release will be put out by Only Lovers Records, Little Cloud Records and Icy Cold Records.
Opening with title track ‘Prepared for a Nightmare’ we begin this aural journey with Eastern influences enchanting, creating an instant hypnotic effect that doesn’t let up, dragging the listener deep into the track as it progresses. There are musical subtilties buried beneath the initial layers of sound which warrant turning the volume up loud for full exposure. ‘Vultures’ is the dark, post-punk sound fans have come to know and love about this band; its relentless energy driven by a motorik beat and dark riffs create an ominous atmosphere. ‘Swallow’ is the perfect accompaniment to the preceding track, with a lighter melody that allows a little reprieve before ‘Ludwig Meidner’ takes bits of all that have gone before, adds layers of fuzz and an eerie vocal swirl to create something darkly beautiful. ‘Never Turning (In Time)’ is probably as close as a band link this could ever come to a ballad, what you would expect to find in a dark fairy-tale, its haunting countenance lingers long after the track has finished.
‘Sacred Core’ picks up the pace once more while retaining its ability to entrance. The guitar hooks are strong in this track and the repetition allows their presence to shine, with the drums being pushed right to the back in the mix. ‘The Night Before’ continues in a similar way, with lashings of reverb added for good measure. The slower tempo allows you to sink it to the track, allowing it to take you wherever you want to go. ‘Goldmine’ packs a much harder punch, with an upbeat feel that’s not usual for them, it’s one that makes you want to move and would undoubtedly work well in a live set. ‘A Future Promise’ has evocative lyrics that accompany a probing bass line that takes hold deep within and doesn’t let up. The choral effect at the end ensures this is another track that lingers long after it has gone. Concluding ‘Endless Shimmer’ is appropriately named as it does appear to shimmer in parts, again adding the overall ethereal theme invoked by the album in full.
If you like your beats fast, your guitar riffs laden with atmospherics and your music dark, you could do far worse than Mayflower Madame. They’re a complex musical package tied up in a black post-punk bow.