July 2005, The Madeleines are playing mid-afternoon in a dusty tent at Truck Festival. Just by chance, I am one of many who start to gather and tap feet to the organized tumult of sharp edged guitars and swooping, plunging vocals.
January 2006 and those sharp-edged guitars and swooping vocals are still at the forefront of The Madeleine’s debut single release, but the contradiction of organised tumultuous energy has drifted away. It so often happens when a band have to take their live, evolving creations into a studio and finalise, then formalise their details. 'Trouble' is a quietly thundering premonition of future problems, "They will never come back / They will never come back / They don’t care what you’ve done / now take the future and run." Zealously earnest, they sound like they mean it, without excess histrionics. However, those rapid drums and those lofty vocals are neat, the frayed edges that were once apparent have been hemmed, tacked and taken to the sewing machine. 'Safety Net' is the more understated of the pair, but equally immediate. Staccato guitars slot together in a way that The Strokes can only dream of, drums pulsate away in precise abandon.
These are a pair of neatly conceived, eloquently voiced and affirmatively poppy odes to staying out of danger and falling into traps. The irony is that The Madeleines haven’t taken the kind of risks that would make the difference between being just another London indie band, or being the London indie band that stick in your conscience. This debut single holds up to their contemporaries, but I need to hear more than just Television guitar lines to find a band memorable.
6Rachel Cawley's Score