Madam West is a 5-piece NYC psychedelic/soul (“misanthropic” “psych-soulgaze”) outfit currently working on their first full-length album. “Darling” is the first track from Madam West’s 2013 debut EP Not Pictured (download FOR FREE on their bandcamp), an endearing and compelling release influenced by artists like tUnE-yArDs (experimental orchestrations, female-fronted art pop) and Hiatus Kaiyote (jazz progressions, future soul chops, enthusiastic jazz vocals).
Though the stalking aesthetic has been executed in a relatively light-hearted manner, it’s an entertaining and appealing watch. The tall, blonde, female, heart-sunglass-sporting subject of the murderer’s fascination walks out of a (Brooklyn?) brownstone with a very small dog, and Sophie (singer and most-of-the-time Madam West composer) follows her with a set of bird-watching binoculars (clearly unable to contain her laughter about the premise of the film). As the stalking scene plays out, “Darling!” is sung over and over in obsessive fashion – the highlight of the video for me is the pillow-smothering murder scene set to a repeated chorus of “where would I be without you?” The jazzy breakdown at the end reminds me of Nakamarra by Hiatus Kaiyote in particular, which they were self-aware enough to mention as an influence. The video fades out with the brunette stalker-Sophie wearing a blonde wig and the heart sunglasses of her victim, smiling into a mirror and taking selfies to bask in the glory of her deed. I’m not sure if it was exactly a disturbing watch, but I had fun.