Review © Russell W Elliot 1999
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Last updated: 11 December 1999

MadelynIris is an unsigned duo consisting of Carrie and Mark Munsell. Their two albums are available exclusively through as DAMs (digital audio music). With a crystalline voice, Carrie is a classically trained vocalist and pianist while Mark is trained in the school of modern rock, with influences drawn from Celtic and some new-age. Together they create ambient, sometimes dark musical tapestries filled with melodic guitar, sensitive keyboards and meaningful lyrical composition drawing upon secular themes. Those that enjoy contemporary music fronted by female vocals should adore these two MadelynIris albums.

MadelynIris. The debut album is lush with richly produced instrumentals—guitars, percussion and keyboards—and more multi-tracking of Carrie's vocals when compared to their follow-up album, perhaps most notable in the opening song "New Day." With eleven tracks spanning a range from sensitive ballads to rock numbers, the debut album could be categorised as being in the popular Christian rock genre. The U2 sound is prevalent while new age and Celtic influences that develop in their follow-up are absent.


Overflow With Tears

"Recover" is echoed in "Overflow With Tears" and "Where I Stand with a memorable chorus but it has more of an attitude. In the sensitive ballad "Scarlet" Carrie sings solo in the verses, yet the choruses have been multitracked to add texture. The instrumentally lush almost Gothic "I Want To Be" leads to the heavily processed vocals introduced in "Thread."

Backed by just light piano and multi-tracked in parts, Carrie sings two lovely ballads entitled, "Shadow Of Your Love" and "Paper Princess" both certain favourites for female vocal enthusiasts. Two tributes to the U2 sound are "iBeleav Caffeine Remix" and "U2's Drowning Man." The former, like the track "Turkish Delight" is slow dance-oriented number with thick electric guitars while the latter is a sensitively sung ballad that features Carrie's terrific lead vocal part.

The album concludes with the original mix of "iBeleav" which we prefer to the Caffeine Remix because the imaging quality of the mix is more precise. This album is certainly a nice listen especially for those that are into female vocals.

Overflow With Tears. Clearly the more sensitive of their two albums, the recording consists of ten short tracks. The short opening track "Underture" and closing track "Everywhere I Go" share piano-based musical themes and bookend the songs in between. "Overflow With Tears" and "Where I Stand" are both powerful vocal ballads with rich U2-like electric guitar undertones and memorable choruses. A certain Celtic feel is evident from the instrumentals within "Strong" although it's been pumped up in a similar vein to the other tracks.

"Blue Stained Veins," sung by Carrie in a seemingly lower key is reminiscent of Sarah MacLachlan's work, but with a better vocal mix. "Thread" is a faster, dance-oriented pop number with instrumentals outweighing the vocals which have been purposely distorted at times to produce the effect. The distortion continues in the introduction to "Monk With A Megaphone" yet heavenly vocalise and warm instrumentals complete the song.

"Days Of Old" has a lovely old world Celtic theme played on keys with flute and harp samples and light guitar. Carrie's vocals are spoken in Latin rather than sung. The "Recover (Bootleg Mix)" was obviously recorded live. Carrie's lovely and sensitive vocal track is accompanied by piano. Overall the album is a very nice listen however we didn't find the technical recording quality perfect.

With a significant presence on, it's easy to explore MadelynIris's work further. Widely acclaimed already, clearly these two albums by MadelynIris show a group with a lot of potential. Listen to them both today!

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