Review Summary: Post-Marilyn Monroe
Although Madonna's claim to the throne of the "Queen of Pop" has been challenged in later years of her life, the experimental qualities of her then-considered unique pop career have secured her a place among the most influential of musicians. At the peak of her career, she was fresher, hotter, and more of a standout than her contemporaries, and so was able to push the boundaries of her career in media to new heights. Madonna is post-Marilyn Monroe.
In a bizarre and ostensibly unrelated twist, the conglomerate essence of Madonna's career can be related to, of all things, a modern math-rock band. Postmadonna is, in the grandest of descriptions, a continuation of the free experimentation touted by the Madonna era packaged together into a math rock palette. But Postmadonna's fate isn't to revolutionize the music industry in any way; rather, everything done here has already been done before. Certain elements have just been amplified, jazzed up, or shaken around. What we have here isn't a pop band or simply a math rock band; what we have here is a math pop band, an unrelenting and spirited mishmash of the two genres. The closest to Postmadonna I can think of at the moment is perhaps Zorch and Battles, but while both bands gravitate towards a similar aesthetic, it still seems that Postmadonna executes it to its true spirit.
On this self-titled maniacal album, listless and seemingly meaningless melodies intertwine at sonic speeds. The band soaks in that math rock tendency to challenge borders of acceptability and accelerates the tempo at times to the point of sheer dissonance. It is by no means accessible, and even veteran math fans will stumble a little while trying to pay close enough attention to enjoy the end product. From the standpoint of a genre outsider, Postmadonna will likely seem like a bunch of noise. Luckily, beyond the cacophony the band is held in place by a very prominent pop sensibility, which is very evident from the chorus of "Cathy" and various delicious guitar licks on "Seamonster".
The band's quirky instrumental work and vocal work is reinforced by its band personality, which shines through everything from its abstract album art of a literal "post-Madonna" to the various elements it borrows from other genres; listeners who are already open-minded enough to digest Postmadonna's "standard" melodies will be delighted by the seemingly random violin song "Interlude" and the meandering and almost prog-metal sounding bit at the start of ridiculously titled "URAMAGICIAN". All in all "Postmadonna" is a brilliantly multifaceted record that refuses to share its brilliance unless the listener understands and truly immerses himself in the band's combined aesthetic.