Madonnatron’s self-titled debut album is a searing, post-punk feminist pastiche full of terrifying visions of homicide, bunny-boiling witchcraft, and sweaty sex shop humour.
With distinctly unladylike tracks such as “Glenn Closer”, “Bad Woman” and “Be My Bitch” scorching the sensibilities of the listener this album is not a virginal celebration of femininity despite its Catholic allegories found in the band’s name (Madonna) and the album’s heretic artwork. Rather it’s a 45-minute iconoclastic stomp through the sinister underbelly of all womankind.
Madonnatron is yet another seemingly apathetic DIY band to roll out of South East London with little hope or expectation. Like The Moonlandingz, with whom the band toured for a while in 2016, their approach to music is indifferent at best yet somehow the resulting album blisters with brilliance as if self-deprecation is the new performance enhancing drug.
Previously released singles “Sangue Neuf” and “Tron” set the tone with an atmospheric angst that feels primal. “Violent Denial” extends the tribal sentiment with distinct Asian influences and an ethereal electronica that swirls like the burning incense of a secret order of psychedelic nuns.
“Headless Children” takes the sound from tribal to eerie psychological horror, complete with sickly sweet nursery-rhythmic chanting. Listen closely and you can almost pick out the sound of an empty swing creaking in the wind of a desolate playground.
Only the energetic “Mother’s Funeral” pulls the tenor far from dank and unholy. Then it’s pure rock; black eyeliner and plenty of two-fingered attitude.
If it all sounds ridiculously over the top then there lies the genius: Madonnatron has succeeded in making something that is its own parody. After all, where else would you find a Dukes of Hazards style homage to Patsy Cline (“Wedding Song”) nuzzled between a funereal rock anthem and an indie take on Phoebe Buffay’s “Smelly Cat”?
Madonnatron may have set out with few expectations and supposedly only a passing familiarity with their instruments (it has been claimed they couldn’t even play them 18 months ago) but what the band lacks in finesse it more than makes up for in strength. So, if you like your feminism black with no sugar than Madonnatron is just your cup of tea.