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Fortress Madonna | Estonian Female Snipers EP

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Great Britain / UK

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Pop: British Pop Rock: Psychedelic Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Estonian Female Snipers EP

by Fortress Madonna

Featuring members of revered UK pop janglers, The Dentists, Fortress Madonna have forged a unique psychedelic guitar pop sound.
Genre: Pop: British Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. In The Thorns
4:53 $0.99
2. Waiting For The Rose
3:46 $0.99
3. Crystals
3:12 $0.99
4. Sparkledown
3:04 $0.99
5. The Andrei Plouger Conspiracy
4:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Fortress Madonna's debut album, One Hundred Beacons, was released in 2001 to critical acclaim. Laughing Outlaw Records are proud to present to the world their follow up EP, Estonian Female Snipers.

Fortress Madonna is quite literally a global enterprise with members based in several countries spread across two continents. The band features Mick Murphy and Bob Collins from revered UK pop janglers The Dentists (Behind The Door I Keep The Universe and Deep 6 were released in the US on EastWest Records), Nick Morwood from The Impossible Shake and Brian Sullivan from The Brian Sullivan Experiment.

Principal songwriter Murphy has spent time living in Russia and Africa and his experiences and those of his late bandmate Alex Serikov (killed in a mountaineering accident in Africa in 2002) have influenced the band both lyrically and musically.

The five tracks on Estonian Female Snipers were recorded in the English town of Maidstone over twelve months, whenever the band members found themselves in the same country. Mick Murphy and Nick Morwood share lead vocals on this fine collection of catchy guitar driven pop tunes. While the band has forged a unique sound, previous (favourable) comparisons to Australia's own Go Betweens and US bands Pavement and Mercury Rev can still be made.


FORTRESS MADONNA - Estonian Female Snipers

"With minor chord progressions highlighted by darkly tainted electric guitars, sinewy sax lines and layers of background "ooooohs," Estonian Female Snipers is an EP full of deliciously dangerous tunes. "Crystal" is a poppy electric spy story about a bunch of little miss sure-shots picking off Russians near Moscow. Presumably, the song is based on Yeltsin-era Russian propaganda explaining military difficulties during the Chechnyan war. Yeltsin blamed 10-foot tall mercenaries and Estonian female snipers for helping the wimpy Chechnyans beat up the mighty Russian army. Even the liner notes on this UK band's album have a whiff of mystery (there are no details about who plays what or who's singing). This much is certain: Fortress Madonna is indie pop espionage music at its best." - Amplifier

"When mysterious front man Alexander Serikov passed away during a Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing expedition in 2002, the remaining band members of Fortress Madonna decided to follow their stellar debut, One Hundred Beacons, with an EP. Nearly completed before his death, Estonian Female Snipers, named for the near mythical assassins blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Russian soldiers in Chechnya, is a five-song assault on the heart and head. The brooding "Crystals," with its sharp horn section and spooky harmonies, is the obvious centerpiece. The narrator (no formal instrument or writing credits are offered) details the harrowing escape of a young soldier from a gun toting women: "A Russian jumps into the ice-cold water/As the others pray by the river/The air temperature reaches minus 26." "The Andrei Plougar Conspiracy" explores similar territory with a rougher edge and a wicked guitar tone worthy of a Television reference. If it wasn't for the lame Church rip-off "In the Thorns," Estonian Female Snipers would be riveting and devoid of filler. Let's hope the band can retain its singular voice despite its recent hardships." 4 stars - AMG All Music Guide

"From their debut album, One Hundred Beacons, released in 2001, comes this little EP with a great title. The brooding, restrained vocals on In the thorns are teamed with a danceable melody, saving it from falling into melancholy. Think early U2, Mercury Rev and James in their darker moments, and then some.

Featuring Mick Murphy and Bob Collins (ex-The Dentists), Nick Morwood from The Impossible Shake and Brian Sullivan (The Brian Sullivan Experiment). Throw in Mick Faithfull, Chris Flack, Russ Baxter and Thomas P Smith, and Fortress Madonna has their own impeccable rock credentials. I dare you not to sing along to Waiting for the rose. It's the sound of British music that remains untouched by the Britpop explosion.

Crystals makes me want to return to Moscow, wandering the streets as the weather turns cold, scarf wrapped around my face, shoulders hunched, stepping inside a bar for a dizzying Baltika no.9. The music builds and swells around me, swirling through my brain like curls of cigarette smoke.

Sparkledown edges towards closing time, the chorus interrupting my reverie like a beam of sunshine through the window. Then I realise it's night time and the ray is actually the imposing glare of passing headlights, taking someone to somewhere else. It's even-handed, balancing wistful with uplifting.

Guitars and voices spin in The andrei plougar conspiracy, circling around as you stumble along through a fog of anger and loss. They jangle and caress and beseech you to 'try to understand'. These are songs that tell stories, not mere throwaway pop about lusting after the girl with the dickhead boyfriend. And damn! It's good." - redbackrock.com

"One of those weird little wonders that turns up on this label, and arrived with nothing to further the knowledge of it other than the enthralling band name and title, which was enough to get it on this page. Further investigation identifies it as an English collective, with some obscurely familiar names in the credits, and the abilities to make pop music of that perfectly English, with the chap kind of shouting toward a cry to be heard over the guitars. Melodic yes, Waiting For The Rose variously having bit of late period Stranglers, The Go-Betweens and Lloyd Cole in it, which you gotta admit is a intriguing mongrel mix in itself. Likeably bent, and worth listening to." - Drum Media



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