With a sultry voice, a drum machine that keeps a handshake agreement with her acoustic counterparts, and a string section that could have played while the Titanic sunk; Madeline Mondrala’s Cloud EP somehow makes a bombastic sonic air raid feel like a walk in the rain. Rare these days are the EP that is less of a collection of singles or a full-length with the viscera and cornbread stuffing removed, but more of a bonafide experimentation in packing a small suitcase.
The LA born, NY living Mondrala released her debut EP for free on Bandcamp earlier this week along with a music video for Blood Brother that feels like a friendly visit to your favorite folder of .gif files.
Madeline is an incredibly talented singer and greeting her new listeners with Blood Brother is an incredibly risky decision (which is maybe why she chose it as both her single and opening track). The feel good, borderline Mellow Gold-era Beck anthem almost sets the expectation that the next fifteen minutes are going to be spent listening to funky fresh flow set to an internal monologue about how much of sucker millennials are for 90s nostalgia. Instead, she halts your wandering mind with the beginning of track two, “Maybe”, shotgunning a dream-like field of strings into accepting ears, quashing any theories you might have made during the previous track.
It was there that I realized producer (and Madeline’s boyfriend) Matt Speno subconsciously installed the very intricate pallet for the Cloud EP in the listener’s brain early on. By the time track four, “Wolves”, rolls in with it’s familiar violin plus drum driven chanting and delicate choruses, you’re so onboard with Madeline’s distinctive style that she can catch you off guard and throw you to the ground without you breaking your hypnotic concentration. I blame the flutes.
Download the Cloud EP free of charge here.