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EP REVIEW: Dashboard Madonna - Neon Life
By Cyrus Rhodes - 05/09/2012 - 01:55 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Dashboard Madonna
Album: Neon Life
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Funk, Jazz-Funk and Pop/Rock
Sounds Like: The Cardigans, The White Stripes, Beck, Black Keys
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Bond Girls, Dead Men Tell No Lies
Weakness: None
CD Review: Hamburg, GER based Duo “Dashboard Madonna” just released their latest effort entitled Neon Life in 2012. Reading from their bio: Music is described as funk, groove, melodic songwriting from 2 members - British born guitarist/producer Sascha Carl and Hungarian vocalist Honey Rhyder. This latest release feature 18 tracks, but for promotional purposes we are reviewing six of their favorite songs featured via this EP sampler.

The EP kicks things off with “Dead Men Tell No Lies” a rocked out into piece that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with its driving rock rhythm, melodic rhythm guitar and hypnotic vocal vibe from Rhyder. Track 2 “Starting from Scratch” is a funky follow up that dishes out rock steady groove against easy flowing guitar rhythms and hooky vocal melodies from Rhyder and Sascha. Track 3 “Up & Away” dishes out a top shelf funkadelic songs with smooth as silk groove against thought provoking lyrical content. This 3rd track provides an amazing bass line, well-placed vocal harmonies and heartfelt vocals. The EP makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 impressive songs in a row. As the EP slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of such acts like The Cardigans, Beck, Radiohead, The White Stripes, and The Black Keys -  but for the record this duo’s overall sound is extremely hard to pigeonhole. The music itself is an impressive blend of progressive rock and even has a progressive aftertaste that is extremely dynamic and melodic in nature. Rhyder’s voice goes down smooth and is full of passion, reckless abandon and bold honesty. The musicianship and musical touches from this group is world class and kudos goes out to the slamming bass lines, sizzling solo guitar work and well placed vocal harmonies you will hear along the way. The songs themselves are extremely dynamic and progressive in nature but will have you rocking. The songwriting is extremely creative, infectious and highly original. Each song possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. I especially like how the whole EP just flows across the ears song for song and note for note. From grooving “Slam Dunked” to infectious "Bond Girls” this EP has something for just about everyone. The EP ends with Track 6 ”The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress” the perfect finale statement for an EP of this caliber.

It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with a production such as this. I don’t like the way Track 2 and Track 3 fade out – almost as if it was forced. For the record I don’t give out 10 star ratings to EP releases. The Full length release is a more complete picture and snapshot of the artist..

Overall Neon Life by “Dashboard Madonna” is an extremely entertaining musical teaser. It’s strong suit – the amazing amount of originality, creativity and musical diversity this EP provides. The production value is thick as a brick and like the aforementioned I especially enjoyed the amazing musicianship and incredible flow and ebb quality to the catalogue. No doubt the full 18 song catalogue provides more of the same. All in all "Dashboard Madonna" stands out from other indie-artists out there with their amazing funkadelic sound and infectious persona. They are like a drug. Don't fight it - you can't help but get sucked in. They have all the trademarks needed to gravitate a huge fan base her in the US, and one would be wise to keep a watchful eye on both of them.

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