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NewDad - Madra (Album Review)

Friday, 02 February 2024 Written by Matthew McLister

Photo: Zyanya Lorenzo

Irish shoegaze four piece NewDad initially announced their arrival way back in 2020, kicking off a run of dreamy singles that banked critical acclaim while lighting a long fuse for their debut album ‘Madra’.

Four years later, they deliver on this percolating sense of anticipation in some style. ‘Madra’, which translates as “dog” in Irish, combines rich atmospherics  with a poignant undercurrent, inspired by formative bands including Pixies, Slowdive and, in particular, The Cure.

Angel impressively kicks things off here, locating a seam of melancholy that runs throughout the record.

The curtain raiser projects an air of mystery as a hypnotic bassline and ominous guitars support singer Julie Dawson’s tale of a destructive relationship. Following it is Sickly Sweet, an excellent, appropriately sugary earworm that changes the tone entirely. 

Later, In My Head keeps the album’s midpoint fresh, with Sean O'Dowd's jangly guitar work contrasting wonderfully with Dawson's anxious vocal. “I'm buried under blankets," she sings. "Descending into madness / And there's no escape from the thoughts burned in my brain."

Meanwhile, Nightmares reveals a more menacing side to NewDad. Here the confused singer longs for a partner she wishes she despised instead: “I hope you're in my nightmares / ‘Cause to dream of you is unfair / I hope one day I don't care.” They then take a left turn on the ethereal White Ribbons, continuing along that path with the closing title track until a wonderful, crashing shoegaze crescendo.

‘Madra’ is a vulnerable debut that, for the most part, also has the poise and confidence to hook us in until the bitter end. It’s a collection of often breathtaking dream-pop tunes that further cements NewDad’s position as one of Ireland's most exciting young bands. 

Newdad Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat February 24 2024 - LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Sun February 25 2024 - MANCHESTER Band on the Wall
Mon February 26 2024 - GLASGOW St Lukes
Wed February 28 2024 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Thu February 29 2024 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Sat March 02 2024 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Sun March 03 2024 - BRISTOL Trinity Centre
Tue March 05 2024 - LONDON KOKO

Compare & Buy Newdad Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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