Madrugada - Grit
The Cardigans gave us lounge-pop, The Hives gave us rock and roll punk, Royksopp gave us serious chill-out and Kings Of Convenience were the closest thing to a Simon & Garfunkel reincarnation we’ve had in a long time. The list could go on and on, and would only just stop with the Raveonettes, who are still very much in the now. It seems the Scandinavians are ruthlessly revisiting English-language musical genres and maintaining the good elements whilst the Brits and Yanks opt instead for commercial mass-market exploitation.
Madrugada are very popular in Europe and their native Norway and they conjure up eighties driving rock comparisons with Nick Cave. Their third album Grit is a powerfully arid rock concoction that feels like it has been left to die a lonely death in the desert. Grit as an album is an exclusive-to-the-UK compilation of sorts, culling the better material from the band’s previous albums and short-players. It is not to be confused with the 2002 album of the same name.
Madrugada evoke such solitary sentiments through the eleven tracks featured on Grit that it is easy to conjure up a noir-David Lynch-style world in which you sense the protagonists eventual doom. This is pounding music without any reliance on volume. So many guitar-genres are smoothly blended into the Madrugada mix that you could draw comparisons with Iggy Pop, Lambchop and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Lead singer Sivert Høyem has a slow, menacing delivery as if he’s embracing the moniker of Death himself, and yet the aura is never too menacing.
Opening track Blood Shot Adult Commitment is almost the trademark song for the Grit collection, packing with it a relentless Robert Burås bass-line and dirty ambience. Majesty is graceful in its resolute abandon, whilst Lucy One is a ferocious guitar anthem drenched in musical maturity.
There’s clearly a new niche opening up for smokey, adult music with a velvet décor, and if word-of-mouth on Madrugada’s live shows are anything to go by, these boys are certainly worth catching. They don’t jump on any fashion bandwagons and yet their music transcends any fashionable genres with such arresting verve that it’s very difficult to not recommend them to everyone you meet. Grit is a tremendous compilation, and does for Madrugada what Your Favourite New Band did for The Hives.