Jangly indiepop can be a dangerous proposition. There's a fine balance between personal weirdness (we used to call it quirk, but Zoe Deschanel ruined that word forever. Thanks a lot.) and traditional pop songwriting. The wrong balance can leave you sounding twee, phony, or just hopelessly unapproachable to anyone other than jangle purists. But there's little better than when someone nails that balance. Madame So's new EP “Sell-by Date” hits all the right notes. (Even the ones that are a little out of tune and dissonant.)
Probably the most apt comparison is Polaris, the tragically unsung band that provided music for the 90s surrealist classic (and a contender for best TV show of the decade in my book) The Adventures of Pete and Pete. But like, Polaris if fronted by an early Hole era Courtney Love (in a good way...). The title track has an almost Buzzcocks edge to it. A poppy but pissed kiss-off song, it stretches two chords as far as they can go. But the best of the bunch is “Dig Deeper,” which alternates between a driving verse and a surprisingly beautiful chorus. The guitars are just a little detuned. The drums slow and speed up with little rhyme or reason. And it's glorious. Jangly indiepop is at it's best when it showcases the idiosyncrasies of all the band members. This is music that could have been made by no-one other than these 4 people. It's never precious. It's never weird for the sake of being weird. And it's never Zoe Deschanel faux-quirky. It's just personal, catchy, and sincerely off music. Emphasis on the sincerity. And that's what makes it work so well.
You can download the EP via the bandcamp player above.
- Words by Nathan Leigh