NOCTURNAL OVERDRIVE PART 1
Released on May 27, 2021 (MR Records)
I’ve sat on this release long enough and it’s time to share with you how great Madman’s Lullaby‘s new EP Nocturnal Overdrive Part 1 really is. The funny thing is that even though Sleaze Roxx premiered the group’s video for its new single “In Your Mind” a couple of months ago, I didn’t have any intention of actually getting the group’s EP. Obviously, I liked the song “In Your Mind” enough to have Madman’s Lullaby‘s video for the track premiered on Sleaze Roxx but it didn’t really move me enough to want to listen to the entire EP. I’m glad that Madman’s Lullaby‘s EP made its way to the Sleaze Roxx headquarters in any case because as it turns out, there are a couple of songs on there that are way better than “In Your Mind” and that have now caused Nocturnal Overdrive Part 1 to be in regular rotation in my car’s CD player.
Nocturnal Overdrive Part 1 starts off with the instrumental “Love Rain Down” which has a nice build up and reminds me a little bit of Dokken‘s instrumental “Without Warning” off their fantastic album Tooth And Nail. “Love Rain Down” leads into the best song off of Madman’s Lullaby‘s latest EP — the fast charging and at times headbanging scorcher — “Next Show.” The real opening track on the EP rocks from start to finish and has me singing along every time. Had this song been released by one of the ’80s era stalwarts back in the day, this track would still be in that band’s setlist to this day. You might get the impression that Madman’s Lullaby are a much heavier group than they really are if you simply only listened to the track “Next Show.” The next song is “Drive Me Crazy” which while enjoyable is not that memorable. It just seems that it is a (good) stop gap between the EP’s two best tracks. Having listened to Nocturnal Overdrive Part 1 countless times, I still cannot remember how “Drive Me Crazy” goes but I do know that I enjoy it every time.
I had mentioned that there were two songs that were much better than the first single “In Your Time” and the other one beside “Next Show” is the acoustic / almost ballad like “Love Don’t Come Easy” which almost gives me goose bumps when I listen to it. The track has a great melody to it and is always a highlight to listen to on the EP. When I first heard the single “In Your Mind”, my initial thought was that this was a heavier song than I usually listen to but that thought process quickly went away. It’s a solid track but clearly not the best one on the EP. Perhaps it was chosen as the first single as it’s kind of in the middle of the road between the EP’s faster track (“Next Show”) and the two slower ones (“Love Don’t Come Easy” and “Never Too Late”). Speaking of “Never Too Late”, this is where Madman’s Lullaby kind of lose my attention. Another ballad type to end what amounts to a five-song EP (not counting the instrumental “Love Rain Down”) kind of kills the momentum generated by the EP up to that track. I often find myself skipping the last track or just bearing through it.
Overall, Madman’s Lullaby remind me a lot of Dokken in terms of the quality musicianship and the variety of songs offered on their EP only slightly heavier. The guitar work from Mr. Brett is absolutely stellar and once you get used to lead vocalist Chris Michaels‘ singing (which might be a bit of an acquired taste although I really like his voice), you may well find yourself hooked just like I was. Hopefully, Nocturnal Overdrive Part 2 will be coming out soon and there won’t be a four year gap such as the last time between the band’s album Sins of Greed (2017) and Nocturnal Overdrive Part 1. Madman’s Lullaby‘s Nocturnal Overdrive Part 1 is easily my most played CD during the last month and a half, and when that happens to an album, it often lands in the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year. Enough said.
01. Love Rain Down
02. Next Show
03. Drive Me Crazy
04. Love Don’t Come Easy
05. In Your Mind
06. Never Too Late
Chris Michaels – lead vocals
Luis Barillas – bass
E.J. Arbizu – drums
Mr. Brett – guitars
Mixed and mastered by Eric Hill
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, August 2021
Madman’s Lullaby‘s “In Your Mind” video: