The Times’ Martin Aston was sold after listening through Madrugada’s third outing “Grit”. The revised version of the album that was originally released domestically in autumn 2002 is awarded five out of five starts by an enthusiastic critic.
Quotes from the review: “According to the boys in Madrugada, if your band hails from the Norwegian port of Bergen you will sound melodic and sweet (see Röyksopp and Kings of Convenience). Oslo, meanwhile, is a haven for punk. But if you’re from the north’s ragged archipelagos, where winter and summer extremes compete to send people mad, then you stand a great chance of turning out music that is as intensely dark and broody as Grit.
Darkness defines this band, from their name (it’s Spanish for the hour before sunrise) to their love of rock’s choicest dark forces, such as Nick Cave, Iggy Pop and the punk-blues legends the Gun Club. Recorded in Berlin, Grit, their third album, should launch Norway’s biggest rock band worldwide. It really is that good.
Sivert Hoyem leads the way, though his mahogany voice and fine poetic line in paranoid disaffection is matched mood swing to mood swing by the guitarist Robert Buras. While Ready and Lucy One are full-tilt Iggy Pop-style rockers and Blood Shot Adult Commitment is a gritty, menacing beast of a song, Madrugada excel at slowburning languor. I Don’t Fit and Belladonna sound like Nick Cave fronting Crazy Horse, but these tracks are bettered by a strings-driven Majesty, a throbbing Hands Up I Love You, a swampy Got You and a ghostly, aching Ready to Carry You.
Don’t bother visiting Detroit for the current hottest source of bluesy rock — Madrugada’s tiny home town of Stokmarknes is where it’s at.”
The Sunday Telegraph’s James Delingpole is equally pleased: “Loosely translated from the Old Norse, Madrugada means ‘mighty, magic-mushroom-ravaged wlf that devours all in its path’. No, I just made that up, but they come from Norway, and their music does indeed sound gloriously majestic, druggy and all-consuming. In fact, to see them live has leapt to the top of my list of New Year ambitions because apparently they’re great. They’re most often compared to Nick Cave, which is vaguely true in that they’re dark and brooding but with very pretty tunes, and occasionally you’ll get these twangy Western-style guitars cutting through the Nordic bleakness. The singer has a handsome, weary, tobacco beaten voice, not dissimilar to Mark Lanegan’s, and sounds particularly fetching on the achingly lovely ballad Majesty, which, along with slow-burn, throbbing epic Belladonna, is the track most likely to smite you dead of joy.”
Q Magazine’s Cila Warncke awards the release four out of five stars and declares “Crikey! It’s Norway’s answer to The Hives! A bunch of bored Norwegians desperate to escape the mind-numbing ennui of small-town life, Madrugada arrive in a thrilling squall of garage rock. On its own, the visceral opener Blood Shot Adult Commitment spits more raw emotion than The Hives’ entire back catalogue, while, elsewhere, there’s raucous Jesus and Mary Chainesque noise (I don’t Fit, Lucy One) and brooding ballads (Majesty, Hand’s Up –I Love You) that are pitched halfway between Iggy Pop and Nick Cave. Let’s hop Howlin’ Pelle is taking notes”.
The Evening Standard’s John Aizlewood joins in: “Stirring!” is his conclusion.
Madrugada’s Grit was released in the UK on March 1 on Music for Nations/EMI. For a taster go to http://www.emi.no/madrugada/ to download the band’s hugely successful single “Majesty” (a small fee is required though). This is a UK only release with a specially tailored track list to suit the UK audience. The release will not be available in any other country.
Early April will also see Madrugada doing some selected shows in the UK. Go to the calendar section for dates and venues.
Also watch out for Madrugada vocalist Sivert Høyem’s upcoming solo album that’s scheduled for domestic release in March. The album’s first single “Far from here” has seen heavy domestic airplay lately.
Madrugada guitarist Robert Burås also has a solo project up his sleeve. The aptly titled project My Midnight Creeps has garnered very positive live-reviews and is rapidly gaining a loyal domestic crowd. A band to watch.