Swallow – Mayflower Madame (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Psych-Noir? That’s a phrase that I haven’t heard before but it sums up what is going on here perfectly. The first half of the phrase describes Mayflower Madame’s hazy and intense textures perfectly, the second part their dark sonic designs. I’m not sure who first thought of the label but they deserve a medal, probably one called the Order of the Concise Journalist or something.

This second single from Prepared for a Nightmare carries on in the same vein as opening salvo Vultures, plowing through a dark and cold sonic landscape, swathing itself in cavernous and echo-drenched guitars, brooding bass lines and troubled dream-pop. It is easy to find inspirations as classic as the Cure’s nightmarish sonic pallet, Jesus and Mary Chain’s caustic guitars or The Sisters of Mercy’s cool, clinical soundscaping, but there is so much more going on here too.

Swallow, and the band that spawned it, are more than just torch bearers for what has gone before, they are better seen as explorers as to where things go next and for every 80’s goth vibe or 90’s nu-metal claustrophobic thread there is something forward-thinking too. It’s dark, its psychedelic and yet it is melodic, anthemic and delivered in widescreen. It’s psych-noir indeed!

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