Madame Claude

We Review the new EP from Madame Claude

This new four track release from the Manchester based band combines the old with the new to create a unarguably unique sound.

Opening track Holt Town presents menacing ‘Ghost Town’ vibes intertwined with a bopping ska rhythms which lifts the whole piece heavenward. An almost exclusively instrumental track, it is a brave piece to drop as an opener, but I think it works. If sets a great base which the rest of the EP seems to bounce of as it goes.

Moving forward, Part In Your Show does a lot to show that they are far from a one trick pony. The instrumentals transport you back even further with a real traditional ska beat providing the base of it. The track bops along so magnificently in the background, with the vocals which we hear properly for the first time dragging it to a more contemporary place.

For me the highlight on the EP, this track finds the perfect balance between the different elements they throw in. Interestingly, the different band members list different Ska greats as their influences. Between them, Price Buster, Desmond Dekka and The Specials are all mentioned. You can truly sense that mixing of the purist Jamaican sound and the punkier English influence all combining here, and it makes for a wonderful track.

Track Three, Ladies & Gentlemen, is undeniably the most creative on the record. Here they found a mind-blowing ability to combine different sounds. The beats are quicker, giving off a Bhangra feel throughout. Not only that, the vocals also become more confrontational, almost post-punk inspired, as they snarl much more than on the previous tracks. Its conversely both the track with feels like it has its roots furthest afield in terms of its sound, but also the most unashamedly British in its words.

Finally we come to Jelly Legs. Feeling like we’ve come full circle since the start, it is once again a track which carries a certain eeriness to it. The harmony feels a little more normalised than the rest of the EP, but the strangeness of the lyrics and keys keep it more than interesting. This track slots in more alongside some of its contemporaries, reminding you somewhat of Squid to an extent, but still keeps its own unique essence.

Overall, this EP had me hooked from the first listen, and having been back and listened several times, it still hasn’t become stale. As a lover of Ska music, its very difficult to find new music such as this which doesn’t simply feel like a tribute or a cheap imitation. This is neither of those. This is brilliant music in its own right. It takes its influences and nods towards them but shoots off on a tangent and does its own thing. A hugely impressive EP, and one that will leave a lasting impression on me.

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