Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Madam West - "Not Pictured" EP - A Trippy Love Affair

Home from Madam West's EP "Not Pictured" is a trippy love affair of a song. Wrapped around a ukulele and Todd Martino's wonderfully subtle dreamy keys, Mike McDearmon's drums (jammy and perfectly disjointed at times) propel the song and mirror the colors in Sophie Chernin's vocal performance like a mood ring. I have never seen Madam West perform live but I imagine that Chernin sings with her eyes closed feeling every nuanced emotion of the song she is emoting. Smoothly delivered, she moves from coos to wails in a jazzy meets soul sort of way with tinges of psychedelia that can veer into dissonance as she does in The End. Coupled with the keys that navigate into that 7th chord realm as well gives The End a funky retro feel. The downbeats and drug haze falling keys feel to me like late 70's East Coast proto-punk.

The full charge funky assault of Darlin is so damn happy. It is a pure declaration type of a song with thick keys blending jazz flavors with an indie rock heart. The soulful dour tone of October is absolutely beautiful and moving. Chernin's vocals are stripped down bare. Intimate and real. The drums and keys fall into place with full emotion and the spartan arrangement thankfully leaves space for all three performers to shine. Totally lovely track.

Madam West is based out of Brooklyn, New York and playfully describe their music as psyche-soul gaze / misanthropic pop: wistful compositions with several synths, some totally legal software, potted plants, a ukulele, a drum set and a couple of guitars. They are all that and more. I love the free form tones. The jazz and soul flavors. Lots of colors here to revel in.
Robb Donker

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