Norway…. land of Vikings, long dark days, extreme cold and musicians that wear hats, i.e. Tommy Olssen. However we have other hat wearing musicians to talk about in the order of a band called, Mayflower Madame.
On the 27th of March, they released their follow-up album, Prepared For A Nightmare, released on Only Lovers Records. Mayflower Madame are a three piece, made up of Trond Fagernes – vocals, guitars, bass, Håvard Haga– guitars and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide – drums.
A kicking this whole album off is the title track, “Prepared For A Nightmare“. What strikes me first off with laconic guitars that jangle away and I am transported to another time of bands such as Wall Of Voodoo and Concrete Blonde.
There are tinges of Fields of the Nephilim in “Vultures” which also happens to be the first single. The lead drawls like some dark, laid back, hellion cowboy, riding the wave of guitars chiming in over each other and a good beat which promises getting darklings on the floor.
A nice big bass line with psychedelic intonation brings you “Swallow“. No we ain’t talking about the birds here here either of you get what I’m putting down. Lovely vocals and this isn’t crass but rather artfully done.
“Ludwig Meidner” was a German artist, most memorable for his apocalyptic landscapes which were created before the devastation of the First World War, in which he served. Later he became a writer of unnatural stories and maybe this is the vibe of this number… that darkness that lurks within. Such a great chorus with lyrics like, ‘I wanna go, I wanna stay, I want desire, And I’ll be dancing on your grave…”.
A little dramatic and expressive with “Never Turning (In Time)” as the lads give us the last thoughts before the ultimate journey which you can never come back from.
Moody, almost Cramps inspired guitar work with drumming that beautifully fits in throughout the sixth track. . “Sacred Core” vocally also makes me think of Wayne Hussey and The Mission.
“The Night Before” is a tale of maybe not only having a partner die but the loss of an unborn child. This number is shorter but seems to meander with quieter harmonic vocals.
A slightly synth start to “Goldmine” although it doesn’t take much for the stringed instruments to come back with shoegaze swirls and that underlying guitar noise.
Once, even fallen stars had “A Future Promise” but can’t always live up to those expectations. This is dreamy and I love how it harkens back to a sound that reminds me of old guitar based Clan Of Xymox.
The last track is “Endless Shimmer” and I can’t decide if this is a love song or a lament for what the vocalist can’t reach or have because of some inner flaw. A slow start that graduates with each word.
You can hear a multitude of influences though the biggest for me is that twangy insistent guitar led music of Fields Of The Nephilim. Fagernes does not growl like McCoy but similarly, sinfully singing doomed nothings.
There are so many layers to this music and every time you listen, you will hear something you didn’t hear before within the swirling psychedelic eddies. Mayflower Madame has based itself on shoulders of wonderful past bands and then taken it to the next level, making this uniquely theirs.
Prepared For A Nightmare is going to appeal greatly to those who love guitar based music that is an inspired piece of gothic rock. An illuminated piece of beautiful darkness.