Mother Mother – Touch Up

So it was that I was last weekend at a 21st birthday party, and I was taking to a 20 year-old about music, and she told me that her favourite band of late was Mother Mother, and I remembered that bands sometimes do, in fact, release new albums, not just stop performing once I’m old and I’ve seen them several times.

Fun fact: this group was originally just called Mother, and this album was released to no acclaim as just an acoustic guitar twiddler before they spent years overdubbing it to not sound like such tools. That’s a long time playing the same one album worth of songs. Zounds!

When I think about bands I like to think about their general aesthetic. Lucky for me, this bands approximates their by putting a charming yet perhaps psychotic five-headed rooster on the cover of the album. So now you get the point. Theirs is a twitchy world where the tune changes kilter at just-off intervals, but they’re nice enough to still have nice choruses twice per song, if not three times. So it’s comforting in its weirdness. That is good, that’s the whole difference between good weird and bad weird, if you think about it. Take note, socially awkward people.

I’ve had this brainworm for about two years now: an Insanity Wolf advice animal saying “Puts toothpick under toenail. KICKS WALL.” Thinking about it makes me shiver still. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll do it someday, just to try and get it out of my head. This album carries the understanding of such urges, though it never expresses anything like that. There’s two female singers and one male, and they all take turns singing in lovely harmonies and backups. One’s higher and one’s low and Etta-ish. It’s a solid arrangements.

Songs! The best is probably the opener “Dirty Town”, and getting the FO of an eponymously personalities locale, but there’s a lot here to love, all in the same acoustic-led-but-not-acoustic-yougetit drive. You know how you see a musical or Glee and it’s got all this both literally and figuratively gay stuff that’s 60% annoying and 40% amazing? This stuff keeps all the good parts – strange sexual preoccupations, makeovers, and contented alienation – and kicks out all of the kitschy crap, resulting in a joyride. When the gentle closer “Little Hands” ends it’s like waking up and realizing that molly dick doesn’t apply to you. It totally applies to me though. Fuck. But Mother Mother is a pleasant trip. Let’s keep them.

9 / 10


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