19 December 2012 (released)
03 January 2013
Meeting Madame So, she simply describes herself as “a London-based/French-born muso who makes lyric-led guitar pop”.
Just a week shy of Christmas, she released her debut EP, ‘The Sell-by Date EP’, made of four super melodic tracks recorded between September and November 2012.
At first listen, the record, supported by two-thirds of the art-rock band Paintings of Ships (Matt Hill, who also co-produced the EP, on drums, and Daniel Clancy on lead guitar) plus Richard McLelland, bassist with folk-rock trio Tony Black and The Collectors, does indeed boasts great melody and lyrical content.
The title track, ‘Sell-by Date’, with lines such as “if I pushed your buttons, I’ve accomplished my mission... Don’t even try to save face/ by removing any trace/ of your very own disgrace/give credit where it’s due” sounds like a middle finger “from anyone who’s ever been taken for granted to their abuser”, she says.
“I wrote this song in spring’11, after being poorly treated by the manager of a [non-music making] project I’d put a lot of time and energy in for pretty much peanuts for a good three years, and not being sent off the proper way. So this is kind of protest song against modern-day slavery.”
Track number two, ‘Camden Scene’ (Madame So is a North London resident), is equally as lyrically snappy: this punchy four-chord tune, which some might find echoing the likes of The Cars or The Breeders, points at the shenanigans she witnessed during her time “within the scene”.
“It’s not to be taken too seriously, really, even though words are sharp and unsettling: I was just hanging out with a crazy bunch of indie hipsters at the time, and only progressively realised it. Out of these toxic (to be literal) relationships, I got a tune, so I guess it was worth the little time I spared this lot in my life. I still love Camden, though.”
The following tracks, the acoustic-heavy ‘Dig Deeper’ and ‘Shiner On’ show Madame So’s softer songwriting style and confirm her knack for a good hook and melody. “’Dig Deeper’, I’d written for a friend, at the time, who had the bad habit of looking for “love” in all the wrong places and kept on experiencing disappointment after disappointment from flings and one-night stands. One day, to try and cheer her up I wrote her this song. Now, it’s got a life of its own and I hope it can turn into some kind of broken-heart remedy for every girl out there.”
“As for ‘Shiner On’, I got the idea when a mate of mine I’d invited to attend one of my acoustic gigs, came up with the most brilliant excuse: “I’d love to come down, babe, but I was assaulted by a random stranger in the street the other day, and now I’ve got a shiner...” Not to sound insensitive, as this could be true, but I thought that was such an hilarious excuse that I started humming a melody to the words “baby’s got a shiner on” ,and then built a story around the tribulations of an alcoholic spinster [inspired by one of my next door neighbours], and it all fell into place.”
When asked about her hopes and expectations for the EP, Madame So says “I just want people to really lend it an ear and listen to each song one by one. Whether the outcome is one of approval or dismissal, I believe this record deserves a stopover from any music lover out there.... I do love a good groove, you know, but lyrics have the priority seat in my music: it’s all about telling stories. I couldn't be asked repeating the same word or sentence over and over again for three minutes straight just because it sounded cool, even if my life depended on it.”
‘The Sell-by Date EP’ is out now, available to buy from Bandcamp, on www.madameso.bandcamp.com.