site logo

Madison Avenue Biography

Last updated: 05/12/2002 11:05:03 PM

It's been a long time since Australian music produced a phenomenon to match Madison Avenue. Less than a year ago, Andy Van and Cheyne Coates watched as their debut single, the insanely catchy "Don't Call Me Baby", quickly became a massive hit in Australia.

It then repeated the feat in the UK, going straight in at number one, while also notching up a succession of impressive chart placings all over Europe and a coveted number one spot on the Billboard U.S. dance chart.

Then, faster than you could say 'one-hit wonders', the follow-up, "Who The Hell Are You", went straight to the top of the Australian charts. No wonder the pair picked up two awards - Best Single and Best Debut Artist - at this year's inaugural Australian Dance Music Awards.

Now, with a huge and ever-expanding worldwide following salivating in anticipation, comes the Madison Avenue album, The Polyester Embassy.

Of course, like most 憃vernight success stories?, Madison Avenue's is nothing of the sort. Andy Van is one of the vibrant Melbourne club scene's most influential figures thanks to more than a decade as a top flight DJ, his role as one of the founders of the Vicious Vinyl label and his production and remix work.

Along the way he's remixed Norman Cook and Pendulum's ARIA Award-winning 揅oma? and notched up some major worldwide club hits, most notably Blackout's "Gotta Have Hope", before striking gold with Madison Avenue.

Cheyne Coates has been a prominent fixture in Melbourne clubland for almost as long, originally as a dancer and choreographer before her love of music convinced her to turn her hand to production.

In fact, initially she and Andy had intended her role in Madison Avenue to be confined to just production duties - it was only when she and Andy preferred her guide vocal for "Don't Call Me Baby" to that of the singer they'd hired that she became the voice of Madison Avenue.

The Polyester Embassy is the perfect response to all Madison Avenue's initial success. On "Do You Like What You See", for example, the duo play to their established strengths, setting Cheyne's vocals against a filtered disco loop and galloping groove.

"Round and Round" maintains the disco flavour but adds a sax solo, vocodered vocal and lots of floor-pleasing production moving in a fashion that brings to mind Basement Jaxx. "What Can I Do" brings an old school funk vibe thanks to the vintage keys and introduces strings that hark back to the heyday of Philly soul, as does "Fly".

And then there's the funky, R&B-flavoured "Alright", with saucy lyrics and vocals from Cheyne that act as a direct riposte to the 'don't mess with me' persona established by "Don't Call Me Baby" and "Who the Hell Are You". Add the gorgeous ambient reprise, "It's Very Alright", and the closest comparison would be Janet Jackson.

And of course you have the new single 揈verything You Need? with its infectious bouncy groove, disco inspired strings and trademark lyrics leaving Cheyne抯 vocal stuck in your head long after the track has finished.

It's Madison Avenue's ability to give their fans what they want yet push the musical envelope at the same time that makes The Polyester Embassy so compelling.

Sure, there are tunes with the disco inflections and surefire hooks that have got the duo off to such a winning start, but there are plenty of surprises too and a rawer edge to many tracks than the singles might have suggested.

What remains constant is the quality of the songwriting and production, factors that will consolidate Madison Avenue's reputation for cutting-edge club tracks with universal appeal.

Madison Avenue has finally put Australian dance music onto the world stage, racking up two huge hits while maintaining their club credibility. The Polyester Embassy is the proof that it couldn't happen to two more deserving and talented people.

The album will be released in Australia and North America on Monday October 2, 2000.