Album Review

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Publicity still for Madeline: The Slow Bang
The Slow Bang
4 out of 5


Madeline's debut album, The Slow Bang, which clocks in at just over 30 minutes, touches on love (most notably on the heartbreaking "I Know You Won't" and "Sleeping Dogs"), sexual politics ("Uncle's Sweet Heart Pt. 2"), and…circuses. Yes, the vaudeville-esque "The Demise Of Madame Butterfly" provides a brief intermission to the otherwise traditional-minded proceedings with a tale of a female acrobat and the muscle man who loves her. The Athens, Georgia native writes the kind of narrative songs that, if they were novels, you'd want to sneak a peek at the last page, or if they were presents, you'd want to unwrap early. Hers are lyrics to be poured over, as on the sad but life-affirming "Good Houses": "Good endless surprises/Good reasons for waking/Good friends are good family with hearts overflowing from kindness from strangers." Madeline's sparse, acoustic songs and childlike voice—which resembles that of a fellow newcomer across the pond, Ane Brun—are accompanied by male harmonies courtesy of Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck, who also produced the record, and chirping nighttime crickets that give the illusion of the singer-songwriter sitting on an old Southern wooden porch with her guitar, serenading anyone who will listen. With any luck, many will be.

Label: Orange Twin Release date: January 4, 2007

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