The Snowdrops - Mad World

matinée 029  /  May 2003
The Snowdrops - Mad World
7"   $5.00

digital   $2.00

The Snowdrops - Mad World

matinée 029  /  May 2003

Debut single from a new band featuring the infinite enthusiasm of Keith Girdler (Blueboy, Beaumont, Lovejoy), the lovely voice of Pam Berry (The Pines, Castaway Stones, Glo Worm, Shapiros, Black Tambourine, etc.) and the orchestral beauty of Dick Preece (Lovejoy, Spinning Wheels). The A-side is a cover of the massive Tears For Fears hit "Mad World" featuring the exquisite vocal stylings of the incomparable Ms. Berry. The flip is an original called "Don't Buy Anything" with Keith on lead vox and Dick and Pam backing in a style recalling the earliest days of Blueboy. This limited 7" is one brilliant debut record sure to receive plenty of attention.

  1. Mad World
  2. Don't Buy Anything


A lot of people seemed to be very impressed by Donnie Darko. A lot of people went on about how the version of Tears For Fears’ ‘Mad World’ that played at the end of the movie was so amazing, but really like the movie itself, it was just okay. It was nothing special. Better by far is the version offered up by The Snowdrops on another exquisite Matinée 7”. The Snowdrops, in case you didn’t already know, happen to be various shadowy figures moonlighting from Beaumont, The Pines and Lovejoy, and they’ve pieced together an absolute peach of a version of the aforementioned ‘80s electropop chart-topper (hey, I don’t know if it ever topped the ‘real’ charts, but it was number one in the top twenty of my heart which I faithfully compiled in my notebooks of the time, so who the hell cares, right?). On the flip there’s a tune called ‘Don’t Buy Anything’, which might have been written in support of that whole Buy Nothing day campaign, or might just have been a kind of joke, like how the Pet Shop Boys called their album Please so that people could ask for ‘the Pet Shop Boys’ Please’, and so in the same vein people could say ‘‘don’t buy anything’ by the snowdrops’… Except clearly you should. Because the Snowdrops are ace.   --Tangents
Inbreeding, it is generally agreed, is a Bad Thing – children are born with very tiny heads, the royal family are perpetuated, and all manner of things. However, in the world of indie pop it seems quite acceptable and produces rather lovely results in the form of The Snowdrops – an amalgamation of pop Trojans (don’t you people ever just stay in and watch Coronation Street?), Pam Berry, Keith Girdler and Dick Preece of a squillion bands but let’s just stick with The Pines, Beaumont and Lovejoy. They cover “Mad World”, by my mum’s favourites, Tears For Fears, (although with Ms Berry at the helm, it’s typically refined), and introduce us to their own wares with “Don’t buy anything” which is shockingly short and shockingly good, possessing a gentle naiveté which makes me squeal “Come back soon! Or else!”   -- Saint Mary Mead Zine
pam berry, when not guesting for the jasmine minks or the saturday people etc is also one-third of the snowdrops, along with brighton scenesters (sorry, that came out wrong) keith girdler and richard preece, most recently caressers of discerning eardrums with beaumont and lovejoy respectively. while it is fair to ponder whether this earth is crying out for tears for fears covers, we will gloss over that because (1) it allows us to recall that time that one of the music papers compared brighter's "noah's ark" to tears for fears, which was a little unfair on both bands in retrospect and (2) it's true that the world does, pound for pound, seem yet madder now than in 1982 and the lyrics are no less harrowing than they ever were as berry delivers them to a soothing backdrop of soft guitars, eighties percussion and whispered synth tones. although we've waited for this single to come out for so long that it's almost a disappointment to realise that it was a bona fide project after all and not just a cunning scam designed to rile hype-believers everywhere, you will find the melancholy that the vocals bring out trailing you around for days. oh and the b side "don't buy anything" is also tenderly brilliant, girdler's soft lead vocal peeping out from under the rain. extra props are, of course, due simply for being on 7" vinyl.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
I'll be honest: the first Tears For Fears record, "The Hurting", was a big favorite for me when I was a kid. I remember, my dad introduced me to it via a couple songs on a mix tape ("Pale Shelter" & "Mad World") back in '84 or so, and later made me a tape of the whole record when I expressed interest in the songs. And while I've gone to great lengths to block out most of my childhood, that record stands out as one of the better memories. Even when I found it on vinyl a couple years ago, and listened to it again, I found that I still loved the record. The Snowdrops have done a very good version of "Mad World" - almost too good, one would think, given the fact that the publishing company didn't want to grant them the rights to it that easily. The pop world won, however, and here we have the debut single from the Snowdrops, who are comprised of Dick and Keith from Lovejoy and Pam Berry from everything else. On the flip of this single is the band's mantra track, "Don't Buy Anything", which is a lovely acoustic track whose music is almost a direct rip off of the Sugargliders' "Unkind". Those Snowdrops are a rebellious bunch, aren't they? MTQ=2/2   --IndiePages
Pam Berry goodness! This little seven inch might have been a-long in birthin', but it's certainly a fun little record, worthy of consideration! The Snowdrops is, as obviously stated, the newest Pam Berry project, featuring Lovejoy's Dick Preece and Keith Girdler (also in Beaumont). The a-side is a lovely rendition of Tears For Fears' surprisingly good debut hit, "Mad World." "Don't Buy Anything," sung by Girdler, is softer, lighter, and not a surprise considering the softer nature of these popsters' back catalogs. Yummy! Single of the Week.   --Mundane Sounds (Single of the Week)
It's hard for me to think about the song Tears for Fears "Mad World" without remembering the way a cover of it was used in the film Donnie Darko. The song's haunting lyrics, with the intriguing line "I find it kind of funny, and I find it kind of sad/all the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had," fit perfectly with that film's mix of science fiction and teenage longing. On The Snowdrops latest 7" they place that song in an equally fitting synth-pop setting, with a wonderful casio-ish backdrop meeting Pam Berry's equally wonderful voice in a way reminiscent of the early Magnetic Fields records. On the flip side is a starker, shorter, but just as alluring ballad with Berry and Keith Girdler singing together perfectly. With stylish retro cover art and two great songs, this is what a pop 7" should be, a little document of lovely moments.   --Erasing Clouds
What is the best way to debut on a record label devoted to the sweetest of indie pop? How about naming the single after a hit song from the '80s and covering that song as the A-Side? While it may not work for every band, it works almost too well for The Snowdrops. You've likely heard the original by Tears for Fears. You probably even like the Gary Jules cover better after seeing it in Donnie Darko. Well, look no further as The Snowdrops have created the ultimate version of "Mad World." I would be absolutely thrilled to have a jet engine fall out of the sky and kill me while listening to this tune. No, it's not as sad as Jules' version. Or as quick as the original. It is, however, pure bliss. "Don't Buy Anything" is short and mystical. The ballad is the perfect B-Side the the synth heavy version of "Mad World." Pam Berry (The Pines and numerous other groups) joins Keith Girdler (Lovejoy, Blueboy, Beaumont) to compliment his soft vocals on both tracks with her rich voice that will make you fall in love with The Snowdrops in an instant. The two songs compliment each other well and fit nicely tucked between the sheets of the retro cover art. It is difficult for me to pick a favorite artist or album from the Matinée lineup. The label is likely to be the most widely covered on this site, at least by me. In our second week up, I've already reviewed Math & Physics Club and have recently finished others by The Lucksmiths and Lovejoy. It is no surprise, then, that Matinée is one of my favorite labels. Despite the difficulty in choosing a favorite, I do feel safe saying that the Mad World single by The Snowdrops definitely ranks high as one of my all-time favorite singles.   --Fensepost
What is it with this song that makes everyone want to cover it. Maybe it was Orzabel's nasal whine that makes it prime for a conversion to the sort of twee glacial splendour that the excellent Snowdrops sprinkle on it. This version is hardly far removed from the original, and, if anything, sounds like it's been covered by some kind of new wave, early 80s synth band...possibly even before Tears for ruddy Fears were around. Meanwhile, on planet b-side is the anti-consumerist call to arms that is 'Don't Buy Anything', which is quite the most beautiful lullaby you'll ever hear, and makes me want to go back to bed with a good book, to be quite honest. Good, then.   --Tasty
hmmm, isn't the Snowdrops' version of 'Mad World' (new 7" release on Matinée) the best thing ever (this week)? Yes it is.   --Tangents
'Mad World' was originally a hit for 'Tears For Fears' in October 1982. It is now the title track of the debut 7" by The Snowdrops, the latest in a string of bands fronted by Pam Berry. This time backed by Keith and Dick from Lovejoy. As far as I remember the instrumentation on Mad World is pretty similar to the original but Pam's lovely voice makes this a pearl. The B-Side is more traditional acoustic guitar stuff but nice too.   --Tweenet
Nel frattempo l'altra metà dei Pines, l'adorabile Pam Berry, non rimane certo inattiva: insieme a Keith Girdler (Blueboy, Beaumont) e al suo amico dei Lovejoy Dick Preece mette in piedi un piccolo gruppo dei sogni per la breve durata di un sette pollici (ma chissà), che affida il lato A ad una cover dei Tears for Fears: "Mad World", il pezzo migliore di The Hurting, riprende tale e quale - in versione appena rallentata - l'intro dell'originale e sostituisce alle tastiere di Orzabal gli arpeggi di Girdler, con delicatissimi cori guidati da miss Berry ed un crescendo di insospettabile forza, riuscendo nell'impresa di aggiungere valore al prototipo. La magia si ripete ed anzi aumenta con il retro (originale) "Don't buy anything", tenue e brevissimo esercizio per chitarrine, tastiere e voci sussurrate, dotato di una straordinaria iridescenza melodica che lo rende persino superiore al lato A.
Peso pesado, ya que detrás de Snowdrops encontramos a dos veteranos de la bandera indiepop: Keith Girdler (Blueboy, Beaumont, Lovejoy) y una de las princesas más coronadas: Pam Berry (Glo Worm, Black Tambourine, The Pines). Ellos dos junto a Dick Preece de Lovejoy, encargado de los detalles de orquestación, forman Snowdrops y nos entregan en estos EPs canciones de extrema belleza que cuentan en la producción con Julian Tardo, el cual ha trabajado con Harper Lee y Lovejoy. La cara A es una lenta y preciosa versión del "Mad world" de Tears for Fears con una electrónica celestial próxima a sonoridades ejercidas hace años por Ian Masters, bajo el alias de Spoonfed Hybrid. Por la otra cara tenemos el bonito "Don't buy anything", un tema corto y acústico con destellos de acompañamiento y con los coros de Berry que nos hace desear más.   --Popchild