Album: An Alien Among Us by MADEBIT

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What you can expect on Madebit’s latest album is some of the best crafted, and best put-together bits of alternative and electronic pop that you’ve heard all year long. It is introducing an all-new sound that will eventually be synonymous with the artist, with all its electrifying energy, retrofitted/futuristic noir disco vibes, and impassioned vocal deliveries from one of the year’s finest discoveries.

 From the album’s first moments, Madebit announces the bold sound of the album as one constructed purely from one layer of synthesizer on top of another, and from a vocal layer on top of another. A sound that relinquishes a bit of melodic direction in favor of constructing compelling and hypnotically immersive textural landscapes that quickly start resembling an outer space disco, fitting to the album’s name and theme, “An Alien Among Us”. The Nashville, Tennessee-based artist Madelyn Reyes, aka Madebit, states that she was inspired by the crazy artists who “stand at the helm of their recordings..”, and indeed, one can catch the influence of such beloved crazies like St. Vincent, David Byrne, Depeche Mode, and Duran Duran throughout the album’s 12 songs, many of which are clear standouts.

 While the sound that this album heralds might be deemed a little out of focus for some listeners, and a little over-ornamented for others, we should not forget for a moment that this album, and Madebit by extension, rewards exploration, and experimentation generously. A lot of the songs on the album are made dense and complex by choice and are proudly so. Among those is the album’s single ‘A Sound is Born’. Effortlessly carrying over the album’s experimental, alien disco atmosphere, this song comes filled with layers of warbling synths that often clash in the song’s busy tapestry. But the heartful vocal delivery of Madebit’s thoughtful lyrics about taking long shots keeps things tightly knit together until an extremely busy coda takes over with dozens of dancing synths. ‘Persimmon Spritz’ off the album’s later half is another bold number that utilizes sample clutter to craft an intricate construct that features melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic trickery at every nook and cranny. While a difficult song to sit on and make immediate sense of, there is enough charm and pop appeal to keep you hooked throughout. The retro disco sounds of ‘I Wanna Get Away’ were refreshing and the straightforwardness was unusual at this point so close to the album’s end. Using synths that resemble strings, warping vocal samples for numerous effects, and a tight, hasty groove, the song boasts a Latin vibe with an alien twist.

 From the album’s first half, we have the starter ‘Space’ as a clear standout. One of the albums’ more chill atmospheres, featuring one of the album’s most memorable vocal parts and lyrics. The chill sound of the song showcases Reyes’s talents as a songwriter who is able to craft a solid chord sequence and back it up with a beautiful melody. I’d love to hear an acoustic rendition of ‘Space’. I bet it would offer such spicy contrast from the album’s upbeat version. The sophomore track, the titular “An Alien Among Us”, is another immediately catchy stunner. With the singer’s very unique delivery on top of the atmosphere that has started to become denser and more saturated with synthpop clutter, we have a peppy banger that is not as experimental as cuts that will come later in the album, but still dense enough to be an introduction to the sound of Madebit.

 Madebit’s debut full-length album comes chock-full of detail and nuance. Layers upon layers of instrumental and synthesized layers of music. From the Intermission’s introduction of a refreshingly organic stringed instrument (I want to say a koto or a shamisen, but I could be wrong), to the faux-Latin vibes of I Wanna Get Away’, and from the Perceived simplicity of the aptly titled starter ‘Space’, to the fearlessly messy and cool ‘Moon Dance’, Madebit infuses every section on ‘An Alien Among Us’ with character and a wholly-new brand that is thoroughly refreshing to dive into.