Hey, let me take a break from braiding my old-man nose hairs to tell you about Mother Mother’s second album, O My (picture of a heart). Yes, so intent am I on avoiding my real responsibilities that I almost took to counting how many of each kind of tea bag I have in my cabinet (nine Chai, fourteen chamomile FUCK STOP), so here’s something else to do with my li’l hands.
The next time someone asks you “, what is indie rock?” you can shove this album into their lives and say “The New Pornographers, but these guys are pretty good too.” Other than four medium-length-brown-haired white guys singing about lakes, of course, what could more typical than mid-tempo stompers with lots of pretty harmonies over typical instruments plus the occasional violin? Remember the one time the band Rogue Wave was shoehorned in some romantic comedy to show off said comedy’s cred? That was awkward. These guys are way better BECAUSE::::::::
The elements are typical, but MM’s execution is way fuckin weird. The melodies are from one main guy and two sisters, and their voices are all far too high and scratchy to ever sound normal. The basic tempo is similar throughout, but all the other instruments sure as sugar play at wacky speeds, giving everything a queer off-kilter feel that extends to the lyrics (more on that next paragraph). There’s the same campy, band-of-outcasts feeling from the first album that even when toned way down still sounds like rock music by way of artfaggery (not D&D nerdery though). I don’t know anything about their backgrounds but shh don’t spoil the illusion. And don’t worry your pretty little head about the melodies – they’ve got the acumen to cover nearly any amount of weirdness.
And the best part! Under all the mid-tempo stomping and lovely harmonies, these aren’t happy songs at all! Things are loaded with emotional distress, self loathing, and body dysmorphia. Truth be told (would I lie to you honey uh huh uh huh?), they’re better at coming up with song topics than lyrics themselves, but the melodies are topics are good enough that I can excuse the occasional repeating of a line for no reason (though the time they say “everybody be trying to change” in the middle of “Try To Change” is the one embarrassing moment on the album). Let’s run down a few of the song topics:
“O My Heart” – My heart won’t stop being hyperactive! I should commiserate with Stephin Merritt about this!
“Burning Pile” – I sure have a lot of problems! I’d like to burn them!”
“Try To Change” – I’m not passive, but I’m too static!
“Wisdom” – Me dumb!
“Hay Loft” – Hey, a third person song! Illicit sex and angry parents!
“Sleep Awake” – I have trouble sleeping, among other problems!
See, good times! But remember, happy sounding melodies and neat-o hooks! For my money the best songs are the radio friendly title track, the cathartic “Burning Pile,” the quirky uptempo “Hay Loft,” and the pensive Miley Cyrus cover “Wrecking Ball.” But there’s other good ones too!
And because I’ve only said positives, let me point out that a few songs are kinda meh, and I miss the more aggressive weirdness of the first album. But it’s still muy bueno. I would never judge anyone for their taste in music, but if you dislike this album then you are dirt.
8 / 10