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Pipeline Magazine Review of Tribal Fires

The Madeira retain the melodic approach of '60s guitar instrumentals to which they apply the adrenaline-charged drive and sounds of surf music.  Their roots are with the likes of Australia's Atlantics and the Tony-Meehan-era Shadows and they play as if surf and rock instrumentals still mattered as much as they did five decades ago. The album name Tribal Fires indicates that this should be a lively set and the track titles emphasize the point.

True to its promise, the opener "Tribal Fury" delivers excitement in spades, its swirling, crashing reverb guitars explode around the soundstage like a shower of dynamite.  Phew, I'd be hard pushed to name a track as dynamic and exhilarating as this.  There's further fire and fury on "Fire Sacrifice", "Witch Doctor", "Arcadian Voyage" and a fine cover of the Atlantics' storming "Giant".  "Cities of Gold" pushes on apace with just a hint of "Geronimo" about its tune, while "Twilight" is a fine mid-tempo guitar ballad in the '60s tradition and "The Expedition" is an expressive uptempo piece.

Ernesto Lecuona's "Jungle Drums" provides a gently exotic passage and the group break out their acoustics for a lively Spanish dance on "Mar Vista".  The tension builds with some six-string bass on "Pre-Ritual" which leads directly into the striking chords of "The Ritual" and its soaring double-picked soloing that builds to a crashing reverb climax. We're let down easy from this with the gentle descriptive ballad "Zanzibar", just one of the eleven excellent originals on this outstanding release from the Madeira.

Alan Taylor

Pipeline Magazine

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