Madita – Too

I know I’ve spoken about Madita roughly 400 times now, but her new album was just released on iTunes. Therefore, I took the liberty of reviewing it. Forgive me.

“I’m falling too deep,” Madita croons off of the opening track “Better Brother” from her upcoming album too, released January 25, 2008. Breathy as an Imogen Heap track and riddled with hand claps and spurts of synthesizer, “Better Brother” leads off the album with an electro-tinge of seductive energy and playfulness that threads itself throughout the entirety of the CD. But who is Madita, you ask? Why, what a brilliant question!

Born in Austria thirty years ago, Madita has only recently broken into the music scene after lending her vocal skills on dZihan and Kamien’s acclaimed album “Gran Riserva” back in 2002. In 2006, she released her self-titled debut album, and has since returned for another for 2008. As it was with her debut album, Madita continues to puzzle her listeners with often incomprehensible lyrical choices and quirky musical stylings. Take for example, the first verse of “Love Is…” in which the singer coos: “calling up to prove / I knew my goal is you / tons of butter flew /into slippery moves.” Okay, perhaps one could make a case for “butter” to be vastly metaphorical, but there’s no explanation for her constant disregard for verb tense, demonstrated both within this track and throughout the album. Grammatical nonsense aside, Madita’s music does more than make up for the occasional gaps in logic. The new album is a stronger accomplishment than its predecessor, containing developing maturity and deeper understanding of sound.

Like the album track, “Deeper Down,” the album sways unpredictably between sultry acid jazz to piano pop, similar to the music of fellow electro-jazz music makers, Bitter:Sweet. One of the largest departures within the album happens to be its lead single, “Because.” With a piano chord progression dangerously similar to Feist’s “My Moon, My Man,” some may be quick to criticize. However, as soon as the vocals kick in, Madita’s soulful vocal ability erases any lingering comparison between the two songs. Madita’s vocals are richly powerful; a combination of the sweetly affected voice of Gwen Stefani and the ripping intensity of Shingai Shoniwa, the lead singer of the Noisettes. Throughout the album, there are plenty of highlights to be found, with hardly a trace of filler. “Love Is…,” for example, starts off as a muted paper-thin ode, slowly building and eventually bursting into a deep, pulsating track, while “Fragile” and “You” conjure visions of smoke-filled bars and lounge singers swaying around their microphones. Then there’s “September,” which plays like the Bond theme you’ve never heard.

Part swing, part jazz, and always a bit electronic, Madita’s latest offering is rich in sound and beauty. The songs may be too playful for some and too frenetic for others, but for those with a sweet spot for something both eccentric and electric, Madita’s latest release should not be missed. Look for Madita’s too on iTunes, or pay a little extra for the physical release from her official website:

To hear selections from the new album, check out her Myspace.

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