Review: Madness and The Film – Scrapbook EP

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There’s a real element of cool about Madness and The Film, and their first EP, Scrapbook, is sure to be only one of many successful releases from the somewhat unlikely pair.

I say unlikely, though when two people are talented, driven and beyond passionate about what they do, there’s no unlikeliness about it. The musical duo that make up Madness and the Film are David Breeze, 31 from London, and Caroline Gorman, 16 from New York City, and what is great about the not-so-predictable line up is that it makes for not-so-predictable music. With the first track, London Town, being written only 6 hours after first meeting each other, it is undeniable that these two have great musical chemistry, both in writing and performing – something that really shines throughout their Scrapbook EP.

With David being English, and Caroline American, recording and creating music is surely a whole other struggle in itself. Luckily, we live in the 21st Century, where emailing, skyping and digital recordings make it a whole lot easier to work oceans apart, but nevertheless can often lead to disjointed sounds with a lack of feel. Not with Madness & The Film. In fact, the distance and the likely struggles are all made completely worth it as the mixture of experiences and inspirations from separate sides of the pond, and through musical influences of different times, are actually a huge part of what make Madness and the Film such a refreshing and interesting band.

The first song on the EP, as mentioned above, is London Town. Caroline’s vocals accompany a twisting guitar melody and already you know you’re in for a treat. Pushing chords and David’s voice then come through, his English inflection and voice driving the verses with Caroline’s backing vocals creating luscious harmonies, in a mixture of voices that I frankly can’t get enough of. The chorus rings out:

 “You know I tried to make it work, but my heart yearns to run. You see the day will come when the lights go down in London Town, I saw your face go straight into a frown. But in New York City, the leaves they turn to brown, oh the sky stays blue.”

London? New York? Sounds familiar. Then the strings come in, (anybody who knows me, understands that i’m a sucker for strings), and suddenly the first track of this duo’s EP hits you in the gut with a brilliant melody break down, David and Caroline’s voices ringing out in an ending to the song that I can only describe as epic, considering that the people behind this huge sound are only one man and one woman. Great opening track.

The second opens a little more calmly, David’s great guitar riff opening Moonlit Shadows. Again, the beautiful harmonies of the two make this song a little something special, and once again huge sound and a driving beat open up after the bridge. Love it. The third song on the EP, Persuasion, includes my favourite funky guitar and bass riff on the EP, making you inadvertently bop your head along to the rhythm. I also really enjoy the intermittent tinkling piano that makes you somewhat feel as if you’re in an old Western saloon. The final song, The Motions opens with a crackly old-film inspired overlay, before the madness begins. (Wow that was cheesy) and though madness doesn’t actually begin, we are led into a gorgeous heartfelt song to finish off the great EP.

The two state their sound to be ‘alternative’, and soon you realise why. Not a song on this EP is reminiscent of the one before. Granted, it is only a 4 song EP, and for the two to create such diversity within an entire album is a whole other challenge, but it is great to see an up-and-coming band really stretching themselves on their first release, and showing varied sides of their sound and talent. If I were to ask more of Madness and the Film for their next release, it would be to include more of Caroline’s vocals: David’s voice is brilliant, and the harmonies work incredibly well, but I think that female solo lines or verses would give their songs even more of a surprising edge. Either way, I’m very much looking forward to hearing more from Madness and The Film.

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