Review: Mardou - "Cardigan EP"

Mardou - Cardigan EP
(Self-Released 2013)
"Icy, caustic guitar... chugging, bass and drum driven songcraft"

Post-punk, pop-punk, fuzz-pop...you may as well forget trying to categorize their sound. A suffix just won't cut it when trying to describe Cardigan, the debut EP by Cincinnati's Mardou. The 4-piece band is able to take the icy, caustic guitar tone of Echo and the Bunnymen and give it new life in a fuzz-riddled atmosphere. Despite lo-fi recording tactics, Mardou's chugging, bass and drum driven songcraft bears an instant resonance borne by like-minded acts such as Wavves and No Age. There's something about the combination of prominent, warbling bass and razor sharp guitars that I've always gravitated towards, and Mardou harnesses the power of each quite well.

"Rimbaud" opens surprisingly ominously, with creeping Bauhaus bass and twangy leads. Dylan McCartney's distant vocals drift in unassumingly, taking a seat behind the wall of undulating guitar. As the song progresses, squalls of feedback and layers of crunchy ambience flood the mix until it finally fades. It's not Cardigan's finest moment, but makes a good first impression. "Margaret", barely surpassing 2 minutes in length, is the undeniable pop single here, making good use of its brief timespan with the release's best vocal performance, ending in a flourish of radical riffage. "Bounty Hunter" concludes the four-song set, a Krautrock-y tune that instantly calls to mind DIIV's motorik beat. There aren't any duds on this EP; it's a solid first effort. Listen to Cardigan below.