By Davis Blount
Before their work as Madge, Cat Leavy was best known for their fruitful multi-year partnership with producer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Robertson as New Shack. The band’s signature blend of ethereal beats, dreamy vocals, and haunting lyrics are all still present in Madge’s new solo project, but with more added to the mix. If a Powerpuff Girls comparison can be endured, the things that make up Madge’s old work represent the sugar, spice, and everything nice. With Fight or Flight Club, Madge adds a healthy dose of Chemical X to crank the intensity up to 11.
Madge describes Fight or Flight Club as a “saccharine assault.” The end product is just that: sugary sweet music that smacks listeners in the face. Proudly self-produced by the artist, Madge throws themselves fully into this project with a no-holds-barred approach to song making. Following in the steps of groups like Sleigh Bells and Tune-Yards, Madge’s music lands like a sledgehammer on listeners, and the result hurts so good. The sweet, gentle vocals of Madge are always in stark contrast to the cacophony of sound behind their vocals. Wailing guitars, frantic drum machines, and twisted and chopped audio samples set the tempestuous stage for Madge’s cool delivery.
The 6-track EP clocks in at just over 17 minutes, but that is plenty of time for Madge to leave listeners feeling completely breathless and wishing for more. The EP’s namesake, “Fight or Flight Club,” also serves as the standout track. From the sparkling orchestration to the song’s memorable lyrics, “Fight or Flight Club” is a perfect introduction to Madge’s musical world and a surefire earworm that you’ll be singing along to for weeks.
While sparse on lyrics, the song’s opening has self-aware and easily repeatable lyrics that lead into the song’s bridge:
“Put me in your fight club, cuz you wanna beat me up
I gotta way with making faces made for punching
I wanna be the one you wanna take out
I wanna be the one to make you feel like you’ll start punching.”
“Hey you, I wanna know why you make me your punching bag
Yeah you, is it because I am mean or because I’m mad?”
Madge’s Fight or Flight Club proves that this is merely the tip of the iceberg for the artist, with future work propelling them toward future creative highs. While infinitely enjoyable, some listeners may find Madge’s approach to production somewhat unorthodox or inaccessible. Newcomers who are unfamiliar with hyperpop, house, and electronic genres would be well-served to give Madge’s album a few spins before setting it down for good. While initially unfamiliar to some, Madge’s music is certain to grow on nearly any listener.
Although Madge has left Utah to set up shop in LA, part of their story will always run through the Beehive state. On the rare occasion that Madge stops in for a local show and reconnect with Utah fans: run, don’t walk, to score tickets. Who knows? If you’re lucky, you may lock eyes with Madge as you sing along about the illusive Fight or Flight Club.
Make sure to follow Madge on Instagram. You can listen to “Fight Or Flight Club” below!