ALBUM: Madonnatron – ‘Madonnatron’

The throat growl of a more feminised voice begins this curious and affecting album, coming as something of a relief considering the techno punk of opener ‘Headless Children’ rides the same groove of one John William Weller on ‘Around The Lake’. There’s a warp and twist to the song, and there’s no let up as the Madonnatron sound grinds on relentlessly with ‘Sangue Neuf’, a track that stands out for its discordant Canto Gregoriana, tying itself in a bow at the end as would the cast of St Trinian’s had they dropped some acid on the way to Latin.

This is DIY music made by women. Take it or leave it, but either way you’ll have a strong opinion. This ten track album stands apart for it comes not from the air-brushed lovelies found in pages of coffee table magazines. Instead, this lot are grimy vamps – or so they’d have you believe – a Joan Jett purr colouring ‘Tron’ and a nod to The New York Dolls lending weight to ‘Be My Bitch’ (a directive often found in the personal ads of the London Review of Books).

And yet, they can grow maudlin as on ‘Glenn Closer’, before turning sinister and vengeful on ‘Violent Denial’, as the warped singalong by a gang of (cue male panic) banjo-string snippers wends its way through an unsettling undercurrent. ‘Mother’s Funeral’ (the accusation being “You never went to your mother’s funeral”) sounds as if Myra Hindley’s mic’d-up internal monologue had suddenly come through the speakers, yet the album ends on a more melifluous note with ‘Cat Lady’. But still one is left unnerved, inexplicably nervous, yet desperate to hear more. This is the modern world and this is what modern women have to say. Through proudly painted wanton lips.

Madonnatron, the eponymous album, is out now.

Jason Holmes