Thursday, June 30, 2011

Madam Trashy Awaken Grunge on "Book of Dead"

Review by Michael Henaghan [also at Phantom Channel]


There’s a nice back story to this record that involves Madam Trashy surviving Jack Endino’s acid-test and landing the former Nirvana producer to mix their debut record. Cue the Kickstarter campaign to fund this excursion which ended up, to the band's astonishment, over-subscribed. This Williamsburg trio are completely worth it, however. It’s difficult to put a finger on their modus operandi, their sound is eclectic and unique, yet alluringly familiar. ’Book of Dead’ instantly rocks, yet takes more than a customary spin to digest. Their compositions segue from light to dark, sometimes in the space of mere seconds. While, there’s a certain finesse to their compositions too, yet they’re not afraid to let loose (check the frenzied end of ‘In The Dark’ for hard evidence). Madam Trashy are clearly a band of many contrasts.

Instrumentally, this outfit are a powerful unit, there’s a precision to their music that reminds of Queens of the Stone Age or, perhaps, ‘Badmotorfinger’ era Soundgarden, honed through over a decade of playing together. The guitars are cranked up, heavy as slab of marble and particularly satisfying, the bass work is skillful and surprisingly funky, while the syncopated drums take left-turns, hitting tricky time signatures when you least expect. The interplay between all three can be mesmerizing. Indeed, ‘Subterfuge’ displays telepathy rarely witnessed since The Mars Volta’sDe-Loused In The Comatorium’.


‘Tiny Hands’ is another definite highlight with its chunky riffs and anthemic chorus that soon gives way to a wandering guitar solo, that seems like it has a life of its own, over a muscular bass and drum exchange. ’In Sleep’ is irresistibly melodic and it’s simply a joy to behold to listen to a band like this in full flight on the Primus-like title track. Only the final acoustic-led track ‘Building Song’ feels like a let down, simply because it seems superfluous against the quality of the preceding six tracks.

Still Madam Trashy has made a bold statement here, announcing that they’re a force to be reckoned in the rock world. We’re surely going to be hearing much more from them. A band most definitely worth caring for.