Steiner & MadlainaSwitzerland
Anyone who has seen Nora Steiner and Madlaina Pollina live – for example on their long tours, at the Southside / Hurricane Festival or at the Lollapalooza – should have already succumbed to their live qualities, their charisma, their voices and last but not least their songs. Because the two have taken the old myth of “playing it up” seriously and have demolished over 150 concerts in the past few years.
The two girls from Zurich (photo: Tim Wettstein) have known each other since school – and that’s exactly what you feel at every performance. Since they were teenagers, they have also been on stages, wooden boxes, festival grounds, in backyards, in “kebab shops in front of five moaning guests”, as Nora recalls with a laugh, or in the studio. Her debut album “Cheers” came out in 2018 with a mixture of German and English songs and the wonderful “Herz vorus id Wand” in Swiss German. The label they trusted back then: Glitterhouse Records.
On their second album “Wünsch mir Glück” Steiner & Madlaina have now found their language in sound, attitude and words. All songs are written in German. “It wasn’t really planned,” says Madlaina, “it came out that way. We wanted the lyrics to have more weight, and I think the demands we made on ourselves grew a bit too. In the end, the songs in German were the best.” Nora adds: “Of course, the fact that we toured a lot in Germany, often with bands that only sing in German, had an impact.”
Two classy Singer/Songwriter
The eleven songs of the second album impressively prove that the two of them had a damn good run lyrically. You have to know that Steiner & Madlaina write the songs themselves. But, according to Nora: “This time we discussed a lot about the texts and the topics.” And, according to Madlaina: “Nora is also the only one who can say to me, ‘You have to go back to that line.'” A knowing laughter the other side. “It’s the same the other way around,” says Nora.
In terms of sound and power, things have also changed a little: because even though Steiner & Madlaina work creatively as a duo, they are proud of “their boys”, or rather their live band: Leonardo Guadarrama, Nico Sörensen and Max Kämmerling played under the direction of Nora and Madlaina also recorded the songs live in the studio.
Indie folk and the often merging vocals of the two still form the basis, but the bluesy extends their timbre coherently. There is also the angry song “Heile Welt”, which, according to Madlaina, “was created out of deep resignation about the world that man has made for himself”. There’s the poignant observation of Generation Y’s woes, “As beautiful as it is today,” there’s the nasty “Ciao Bella,” and there’s Generation Indie’s “I want some sugar in my bowl.” “Think what you want” – this song is lascivious, intelligent, feminist and self-determined about good sex, which sometimes doesn’t have to have anything to do with love, and which can lead from the flower bed straight into the abyss.
It begins with a “feel good song with a slightly bitter aftertaste”. That’s what the artists themselves say very aptly about the opener of their second album and at the same time name a specialty of the Steiner & Madlaina house – because they can prepare exactly this flavor perfectly. “Es geht mir gut” is served with a white wine spritzer at 40 degrees in the shade, a choir whispers, a relaxed, grooving rock song stretches out leisurely, and the two ladies smear a bad conscience irresistibly, at the latest in the refrain, like strawberry jam that is no longer fresh .
“Like Leonce and Lena, boredom suits us / We are totally aware of what people are doing all around / Too lazy for any debates / I stay in the shade at forty degrees.”
One of their strengths already comes into play here: Nora Steiner and Madlaina Pollina are far too smart to present themselves as do-gooders with waving index fingers. They dismantle themselves with well-seasoned self-irony, until they quite rightly state in a last hug: “If we all wanted to, we could still save the world.” Ouch.
- Nora Steiner – Vocals, Guitar
- Madlaina Pollina – Vocals, Keys, Gutiar
- Leonardo Guadarrama – Drums
- Nico Sörensen – Bass
- Max Kämmerling – Guitar
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