Madaila | November 4, 2016 | Rating: 9.5/11 |
As a general rule, it’s always in a writer’s best interest not to lapse into unfortunate cases of hyperbole. So while thinking about this Madaila thing in a straight, linear thought pattern rather than randomly musing, it occurred to me that if you have trouble digesting Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s neurosis, perhaps Madaila is more up your alley. While still encompassing cosmically soulful and kaleidoscopic trips via straight up accomplished musical badassery, Madaila leaves a sweeter, less displaced taste in the mouth. Also, an undeniable urge to make babies.
Basically this album has life-giving properties. See what I did there?
Now, it also occurred to me that listening to these five psych-pop funksters is probably way easier than looking at them. Apologies if that sounded rude, because they genuinely are some fetching gentlemen, it’s just that there happens to be a weird Jazzercise Jesus Technicolor/possibly highly flammable dream track suit thing going on with their wardrobe. Not judging, mind you; just observing and to each their fly your freak flag-own.
So Madaila’s new fait accompli is called Traces: traces of what, you ask? No idea. Traces of self, traces of the past, love, human existence, chem trails…I got nothing. Nothing but the fact that this album is pretty fucking sexy and if there were a Grammy Award category for Gorgeous As Fuck Album of the Year, no other record need apply but for Traces. It truly is the G-word in every aspect of execution and design: 12 songs deep of ornate, but oh so far from over the top glittering, holy hell those harmonies, lovey-dovey pop, psychedelic soul for the soul. Somewhere between hearing the groovy, warm and pretty colors – whether you want to or not – you’re going to dance and that’s a head rush in itself, so be prepared to deal with that. Yes, Madaila trip the light fantastic in homage to the likes of The Artist Formerly and Forever Known as Prince but the roots run and skirt the sonic and ethereal goodness of Earth Wind & Fire’s sense of humanism and good will. And that speaks to their lofty (whether intentional or not) ambitions and here’s hoping that they keep that shit up. Jesus, one of their songs is called “Excelsior,” dammit (and what you just did when you read that is exactly what I did when I wrote it). Plus, I dare even the blackest heart to not crack open towards the light when the chorus of either “Realization or “Children of the Stars” kick in. Where does this kind of optimistic, forward thinking, emotionally curative stuff come from? Did I mention that they’re from Vermont? Yeah.
“Keep what’s left of the heat / And hope that it can burn until the bitter turns sweet”
That’s a line from the plaintive, damned near on your knees, I’m not ready to let this go, God bless those vocals “What If” that’s like Babyface on mushrooms. Yeah, it’s that deep and awesome so if you haven’t linked your Tinder profile to your Spotify so that your future love match can see what amazing taste in music you have via this album, you’re doing it wrong. Because by the end of the record, dude proclaims that all he really wants is just to run away to the woods with you. Oh. Come. On.
I wonder if these guys are single…did I just say that out loud? Dammit.