Music Moment: Mother Mother

I have been listening to one track from Vancouver, BC-based band Mother Mother’s second album, O, My Heart, over and over. I’ll explain.

I liked best the song from their first album, Touch Up, called “Dirty Town.” Good track, great intro to the band, for me anyway. At the time, I remember thinking they sounded like Camper Van Beethoven and wondering where they’d go next (the answer in a momento). Here’s that track, really fun one.

Mother Mother – Dirty Town

So I was listening to music the other day and that song came on and I thought, I remember these guys — what have these kids been up to lately? And shot over to imeem to check on their recent work. Totally AWESOME STUFF is what they have been up to! Even though I am disappointed by what they look like, a little too on-purpose-hipster to me, they are still spirited and have great music, so I forgive them for being young and tragically symmetrical in their appearance (I prefer more of an accidental freakshow for my smoochytimes and I feel there ain’t no shame in a name on that issue). They are young, yet, they’ve still got time to get wrecked and not look so shiny.

So let’s talk about this album.

The title track, “O, My Heart,” is good but it is not the best track, that honor for sure goes to “Burning Pile,” which is truly CRAMAZING which is why I will get to it last.

Mother Mother – O, My Heart

Okay…I’ve made a decision. This entry is going to be super-ridiculously long, but I’m streaming virtually the entire album today, so that will make up for it I hope! So here’s the jump, and after it there will be pictures of pretty ladies in fishnets and even a little bit of motherfucking REVOLUTION, so you want to click this time! You know the routine, hit it…

I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about good-looking and shockingly talented wild young’uns Mother Mother and see more pictures, hear more music, and get ya mind straight up BLOWN, because they are truly neato terrific…

Mother Mother – In Your Arms Tonight
“In Your Arms Tonight” is weirdly a mix of “I wouldn’t walk” etc by the Proclaimers and Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Blah-Blah,” maybe too some shades of NY Dolls too because of the crunchier cords but also like Madonna’s “True Blue” … it is not punk by a long stretch but picks up on those same themes that were active in the early to mid 80s scene of both pop and punk, the arrangements reflect a more doo-wop influenced sound but updated, like the garage bands and punk guys did, just in a more pop way, kind of like the Casual Dots “I’ll Dry My Tears,” this makes no sense now, does it. Damn it. On with the show.

Mother Mother – Body
“Body,” then. Okay, weirdly “Body” sounds almost like the song “Rules” by Shakira, you know the “use your eyes only to look at me,” one, which to be so alike is kind of odd within the same decade, but on reflection this is not so strange an idea to be repeated close together. It’s not that far out to order someone to take and use as they like all those parts of you that you yourself feel tingling and longing for their mastery in, so to me that makes sense as a meme musicwise. And the disjointed melody with the weird syncopation only works to further metonymize the subject, the singer’s body. Pretty good, overall.

Mother Mother – Ghosting
The lyrics to “Ghosting” are middling-to-medium-well-done but the melody doesn’t live up to what you’re hoping for from the uniqueness of the intro; it descends in to a little bit of monotony. There is some nice weirdo pizzicato minor key stuff at the start, but it never totally hangs together like the rest of the tracks, for me at any rate.

This next song is really something special.

“Wrecking Ball” is a crazy-cute and catchy track (especially around 1:35 where it has an adorable and awesome little surprise break), but the lyrics are the best part, they help it transcend catchy power ballad and move it in to something more special than that, a plucky little anthem about being yourself and owning your mistakes with absolutely brass balls.

Mother Mother – Wrecking Ball

It takes a dedicated hand
to put it through the wall.
You got to want to break the hearts
of all those pretty porcelain dolls.
You got to want to be the drummer in the band
You got to want to be a battering ram
You got to see the artistry
in tearing the place apart with me, baby!

I am unruly in the stands,
I am a rock on top of the sand,
I am a fist amidst the hands
and I break it just because I can.

(then it goes into this adorable little dance hall jiggy-style riff with the girls taking the vox lead, really fun and they’re totally sellin’ it with the ragtimey piano like it is the wild mothafuckin west because WHY NOT WHEN IT IS)

Lets break it
just because we can.
Deface it,
just because we can.
Lets break it..
Just because. Just because!

Just reading them without the melody behind it, those lyrics make it sound nearly angry but it’s actually quite upbeat and almost spiritually uplifting in its way; if I ever could find moments this song describes in my own life where I am doing anything akin to what the lyrics suggest, I suppose liberating negative space comes closest. Like, you can’t start the revolution without a brains of the operation, and maybe you are still stuck on being sore about how chaotic and off-kilter life in these times on this fucking joke of a cooling rock can occasionally be, and so you do not have the wherewithal to pull yourself together and be those brains, but you still have your Little Ways of letting that big anger out, the anger that must all eventually be released before you can start the real changes.

Look, of course I am over reading the lyrics, but I guess what I’m saying is that I feel like it’s not about being rough or mean for mean’s sake, but it is a statement of the fact that to come to any kind of grips with your lost self, you must be strong and brave and forthright in all that you do, whether that is misguided in the moment and gets you labeled reckless or is the exact right thing to be as it ends up and wins you kisses and accolades. Heroes are probably foolhardy hotheads every now and again. Basically, my feeling is, it’s all well and good to be academic and deep-thinking about things, but it doesn’t always indicate strength of character to consider a situation too overlong; there ain’t no way someone who really lives his life by the adage “nothing to fear but fear itself” has never got himself 86’ed out of a bar for socking a shithead that made a remark which rankled: it happens. Roll strong, be fists amidst the hands! I like it. A LOT.

Mother Mother – Burning Pile (I adore this song forevah)
All right, now we come to the meat of the thing: “Burning Pile,” the best track on the whole goddamned album which is saying A LOT. This is the one that has held me totally prisoner for the past 28 hours or so, I think I even dreamt about it. It actually has a lot of the conventions of reggae but it’s all tripthonic and arrhythmic and sexy and gently unfurling…really hot. I made that word up, I don’t think it means anything…yet–not arrhythmic. That is a word already. I mean “Tripthonic.” Pretty sure I just made that up.

All my guts, I try to spill,
all my holes I try to fill.
All my money been a long time spent
on my drugs, on my rent–
ah, my saving philosophy
it goes “One in the bank
and the rest for me.”
It goes,

“All my troubles on a burning pile
all lit up,” and I start to smile;
if I catch fire, I’ll change my aim
and throw my troubles at the pearly gates

Don’t think that the instrumental interlude with the overlay by the choir in the latter half of the third minute signals some endgame… with the muted brass a bit after the 3:00 mark, they start to build these wild layers of perfection that do not jar even though they are teetering on the edge of discord.

This is a deceptively simple song that conceals beautiful and hidden secret layers. It’s like a fire slowly catching, coming to life; at first you are like, “This isn’t much, is it even going anywhere?” yet it draws you closer and closer to the heat at its core ’til by the climax you are a part of the roar, then it slowly dies to embers again, winds itself out, a temper tantrum, a tempest in a teapot. Totally fuckin’ cool.

A big key to the power of this song I think is something about the way the rug is jerked out from beneath you by the chorus. I find that rare, for a chorus to DROP down the scale rather than rise up, and it makes it feel like you were climbing a roller coaster that begins with a freefall, and the pick-up note before the chorus launches is that trembling you-are-steeled-for-the-slide-but-totally-still-in-this-heartbeat second when you’re hanging up in the air before the drop, or like that moment between the moment right before orgasm and the actual finish, it’s quick but it’s everything. All your blood and organs stand perfectly still inside your body for half of a half a second where you are just all ablaze with anticipation, and then the knife twists, you know?

It is something like a return to what you already knew, because the song is supposed to be a climb, and instead it keeps pulling you back to that low chorus, like this is how you always KNEW it would be, the refrain is familiar to you and disobeys your expectations because it is reminding you of the part of the song which resonates with you most strongly, a deep and dark part of you which is represented by the scale dip, and whose resonation you are attempting to suppress.

Oh, my word. That so got away from me. So bad. Anyway, the chorus, and much of the very choral and sparkly childlike major keyed backing vocals, they sound like a child’s chant .. you could skip rope to the damned thing.

The track just gets better and better and better…it’s unbelievable.

Debra-Jean Creelman has left the ensemble to pursue side projects but I’m tracking them down and they are pretty darned good, roots stuff, which I dig. Her leaving the group has left them without a redhead, which they either need to remedy or one of the blondes can always dye her mop. Just throwin’ out ideas, guys: I am trying to help is all! Here’s a pretty picture of her performing some acoustic songs on Canada’s CBC to whet your appetite.

Until tomorrow, don’t take any wooden nickels!

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5 Responses to “Music Moment: Mother Mother”

  1. Steven Harris Says:

    THey do make good sounds, even if they do look somewhat unauthentic. Who on earth thinks 80s fashions needed to make a comeback anyway?

  2. Steven Harris Says:

    Reminds me of a band that were 80s when the 80s were happening – Green on Red.

  3. Steven Harris Says:

    Well, Ghosting does. The others have the feel of a mellow Arcade Fire.

    • E. Says:

      Definitely an Arcade Fire vibe happening. On their first album, they were a little less of the baroque power pop and had more fiddles and roots-style composition. But I am fine with both albums. As for 80s fashion, I don’t know what compels, but I did recently buy several lumberjack style plaid shirts, which I’m now seeing broad flannels on hipsters, so oh dear, I suddenly can’t throw too many stones!

  4. Steven Harris Says:

    I’m glad to be at an age where hip now only means them things that make sure my legs don’t fall off.

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