Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mother Mother - Touch Up

Mother Mother
Touch Up/Last Gang

A wonderfully quirky and vocally oriented group hailing from Vancouver, Mother Mother have formulated a rather clever affair of pluck n’ twang acoustic pop fleshed out by clever rhythm and groove. The three air-tight vocalists keep their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, spouting nursery rhyme lyrics over the clap your hands and stomp your feet funky-tonk vibes. It works best when it’s paired with a trumped up production suite, best exemplified by the mostly hip-hop flavored “Verbatim”, boasting the biggest beat and best fuzzed out bass ever laid over a country riff, or the summertime sing-along of “Polynesia”, an exercise in verbal control and tongue twistery. Actually a re-visiting or re-issue of earlier work, adorned with a few extra touch ups (!) and songs to boot, Touch Up is in a class of its own, a serious lecture in the school of creativity and original thought. Hardly flawless, a few of the simpler, slower tracks tend to grate the nerves but are easily forgiven on the merits and strength of the main body of material. Having secured a four album deal with quality-over-quantity Canadian indie label Last Gang, Mother Mother are poised to birth a following of suckling hipsters.
I, Lion

Mother Mother are playing Amigo's June 22nd, and it's NOT to be missed. Joining them will be Saskatoon's own acoustic dance troupe Volcanoless In Canada, and I predict BIG things for this show. The Volcanoless boys have recently just returned from their inaugural summer tour where they happened to catch MM live in both Ottawa and Montereal, and they were still *glowing* from having seem them play live. Mitch claiming they were "5000 times better than" he had ever anticipated. Be there!

Self Against City - Telling Secrets to Strangers

Self Against City
Telling Secrets to Strangers
Rushmore/Drive Thru

For an album whose liner notes list the only three credited members as contributing both guitars and vocals, one would expect a fair bit of variety, and hopefully a product offering a clever intermingling of the member’s talents and abilities. Sadly, Self Against City’s most recent release Telling Secrets to Strangers falls a far cry short. While being accomplished vocalists, the three members drone along together in perfect pitch, sounding virtually identical and wholly uninspiring. Lyrics are bland and seem to be constructed of patchwork written lines of genre-generic clich├ęs and effluvium such as “Don’t be something you’re not.” or “My arms wrapped tight around your neck won’t change your mind.” Yet, delivery rivals content for the weakest point on this album. All three vocalists sound as if operating in powered down sleep mode. While at times sounding reminiscent of Say Anything’s Max Bemis or Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo, the entire performance here lacks any of the fervor or raw emotion embodied by the aforementioned vocalists. While not a terrible collection of songs by any means, there just isn’t enough here to warrant any repeat listens. One would hope, in future efforts the group would take a little of their own advice; incidentally the only lyric on the record that holds any water, “I want my life to be more like a symphony with chords encased in scores of grace that rival symmetry.” I want that for them too.

I, Lion