ALBUM REVIEW: Prepared for a Nightmare by Mayflower Madame

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WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras

Mayflower Madame’s new sophomore release Prepared for a Nightmare is out via French label Only Lovers Records in collaboration with Little Cloud Records (USA) and Icy Cold Records (France). The band combines post punk, shoegaze, and neopsychedelic/noir landscapes across ten tracks that are both mysterious and trippy. The band brings the listener into a trance that starts the minute the record begins until the final notes ring out on the B side. The Norwegian band has been a mainstay since 2011, releasing different arrays of singles and EP’s before their debut record in 2016. After the release of “Prepared for a Nightmare” it seems the band has fine-tuned their sound and put forth their vision for the project. The result is nothing short of spectacular. 

What the band does well is capture really lush, and dark sounds. The landscapes Mayflower Madame are able to capture are rich and vibrant. They call to mind tracks that Echo & The Bunnymen were making in the 80s, only this time Mayflower Madame are taking that idea and revamping it for the 21st century. The opening track and title of the record “Prepare for a Nightmare” combine really dark instrumentation that calls to mind some Mazzy Star influence in that they incorporate jangly guitars that are both lush and mysterious. The vocals of Trond Fagernes are chilling and add great depth to the track. “Vultures” begins with this reverb heavy guitar riff, and pulsating drum beat that’s both huge and atmospheric. “Swallow” with its more low-key approach has a nice balance of all the musicians doing their thing, but making for a really tight and present track, a slow burner of sorts. “Ludwig Meidner” with its rocking drum track and gradual buildup of guitar and bass adds to the neo-psych approach the band puts out for the listener. “Never Turning- In Time” utilizes a really ambient style of instrumentation. The guitars have added effects and done at a lower volume than most of the previous. The vocals, almost inaudible, are magnificent and continue to add a level of mystery behind them. 

“Sacred Core” continues with the reverb heavy effects. The reverb alone could be its own instrument that’s how deep it hits. “The Night Before” again hammers home a really slow-moving track that’s both hypnotic and devastatingly beautiful and poetic. “Goldmine” brings the energy level to the max as the band members let loose the energy of abandonment and let their instrumentation do most of the talking. “A Future Promise” begins with a really heavy guitar and bass combination. It’s almost like a metal riff only slowed down, tuned down half a step, and soaked in reverb. It’s a nice slow banger that’s attempting to bring the listener down for the concluding track “Endless Shimmer.” The concluding track attempts to combine all the previous musical element found throughout the record, reverb soaked guitars that add another layer to the song, really huge and well recorded drums that hold the track together, and a guitar line that’s both infectious and elegantly put together mixed with the signature vocal style of Fagernes.

Mayflower Madame is a complete experience. From the beginning of track one, the members capture all the essence of a neo-psych record that has a goth tinge to it. It also helps that the talent of Trond Fagernes, Håvard Haga, and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide is on full display throughout the record due to the tightness of the band members and their ability to riff off of each other. One of the best features of the record is its balance. No member attempts to outshine the other. They are all working towards creating a world to disappear in, and they succeed. 

For Fans of: Echo & The Bunnymen, Traitrs, Double Echo

Track Listing:

Side A:

  1. Prepared for a Nightmare
  2. Vultures
  3. Swallow
  4. Ludwig Meidner
  5. Never Turning (In Time)

Side B:

  1. Sacred Core
  2. The Night Before
  3. Goldmine
  4. A Future Promise
  5. Endless Shimmer

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