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Instro-Rama A-Go-Go Review of Carpe Noctem

Let’s put aside some of the reasons that would make the Madeira go unnoticed or even ignored: they don’t have a cool image; they record with a label (Double Crown) well-respected by the instro-fans and scene writers but not very far-reaching; and their album covers have a somewhat outdated design, half-way between Eastern and symphonic rock. They don’t stand out, that’s true… BUT, they have Ivan Pongracic’s Stratocaster and everything else is forgotten, especially when the band records an album like Carpe Noctem. It has a powerful sound loaded with intricate arrangements that turn it into another gem this year.

The Croatian background of the lead guitarist (ex-The Space Cossacks) brings out his passion for anything Mediterranean, hence the clean melodies, exotic touches and an amalgam of reminiscences and influences that improve what they did on Sandstorm, their debut album from a couple of years ago.

We can already declare that Undercurrents is a classic. What nasty string-picking! Awesome! But this is not the only great track. The band cracks out Rolling Thunder and Carpe Noctem and gives you a good rush. It reminded me for a moment of Laika & the Cosmonauts. The covers of S.O.S. (Stomp on Stomp), by the Atlantics, and El Flaco, by Reidar & the Quintones, are true to their original versions, but they sound current and powerful. Dane, Todd and Patrick, the rest of the band members, have assimilated the leader’s beat to become an excellent rhythmic machine. Even the flamenco tonalities, the Magreb air and gypsy touches are perfect in the mid-tempo and mysterious sound of tracks like Tangaroa, Hamsa, Sahar... This is what American aficionados think of as the European instrumental sound and we’re just thrilled to listen to it. This is quality stuff.

If bands like the Bambi Molesters, the Beat Tornados, the Spotnicks, the Charades, the Shadows, Langhorns, the Quiets, and, above all, the Treble Spankers, are in your collection, don’t miss the Madeira’s third album (counting their EP last year). You’ll enjoy it!

More information on the band at:

Pongracic is also a regular contributor to The Continental magazine. We recommend the most recent issue (#15), where you can read his review of the Dick Dale reissue albums by Sundazed. A great dossier and 100% accurate.

Eloy Rubio Bravo

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