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Mother Mother: The Sticks Album Review

The Sticks Mother Mother Album Review
The Sticks Mother Mother Album Review

Mother Mother: The Sticks

From the stark opening notes of the ethereal “The Omen,” this album grabs your attention and locks you in for a forty-eight minute journey through genre-defining rock ‘n roll. “Something about the world today makes a boy feel a bit insane, From daffodils to acid rain to Antichrist on a tidal wave… With a couple of sticks and a couple of stones, I’ll dig a pit and lay my bones.” Dark, cheerful, skeptical, and sometimes fun, it’s a roller coaster, and a great ride. Truthfully, not much more you can ask for in a rock album.

Truth be told, I’m quickly becoming an avid Mother Mother fan. The band. fronted by brother/sister combo, Ryan and Molly Guldemond, offers a refreshing and creative approach to rock music. It’s edgy, passionate rock, and oh so welcome in today’s increasingly stale cookie cutter environment.  Their sound is unique and totally their own, but if pressed for a comparison, I’d offer Cage The Elephant merged with Grouplove.  And, that’s damn good company.

Their 2011 offering, Eureka was one of RARA’s Farm’s Top 10 albums of the year, a year where he had Cage The Elephant and Grouplove at the top of the list (see the Best of 2011 here).

On The Sticks, we see the quintet out of Vancouver, B.C. continue to evolve.  The album is generally contemplative about the “God awful shitty feeling of dread in my heart” feeling that permeates our world today. The magic to those lyrics is the juxtaposition of Ryan’s saccharine sweet vocals  delivering the depressingly dramatic lines.  The lyrics throughout the album are priceless, and the music pure cutting-edge mastery.  It’s a trait of the album; a rare combination of stellar music and fantastic lyrics throughout, a true aural masterpiece.

The fourteen tracks on the album weave together masterfully. The Sticks is an album, not a collection of loosely associated tracks.  The songs were written on the road over a fairly brief period of time and mesh together expertly.  Many of the offerings feature nicely layered boy/girl vocals, with Ryan taking the male leads while Molly and keyboardist Jasmine Parkin trade-off the female leads.

“Let’s Fall In Love,” the first single off of the album is an absolute addiction. The song is driven by Jeremy Page’s bass and Ali Siadat’ drumming, and also features a great guitar riff from Ryan Guldemond. The music is damn near perfect, and the vocals even better.  Ryan’s vocals stand out and offer a truly fresh feel.  His guitar work is also excellent throughout the album, and I’d recommend taking a spin through the tracks just focusing on the guitar work – again, creative, original stuff that just works fantastically.

The album weaves nicely between poppy, melancholy and aggressive rocking cuts, as illustrated in the excellent run of songs beginning with “Infinitesimal,” “Happy” and “Bit By Bit.”  It’s a small slice indicative of the breadth and depth of this diverse album destined to be one of those rare offerings that defines a year.

I’ll leave you with a few lyrics from my favorite track on the album, the provocative, energetic “Bit By Bit.” “I’m getting on a mountain, away from the people on the ground and Some cop sticking up my wagon. Chop chop we gonna build a cabin, up top on a pretty little mountain, Fuck off all you people on the ground, ya!” Just make sure you grab a copy of the year’s first can’t miss album to keep you good company during your journey through the sticks…

(Check out the album below, and buy it now on iTunes – trust us on this one)

Rock On!

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Mother Mother – Eureka

Eureka! Yup, I’m a little late, but I finally got my hands on Eureka, the third album from Mother Mother, a talented and under-appreciated quintet from Vancouver, British Columbia. Definitely worth the wait for this diverse collection of alt-country-dance-funkadelic-harmonic rock. It’s impossible to classify their sound as anything but original; they sound like Mother Mother, period.  And, that’s just fine for open-minded rock and roll animals like myself.

The album is pretty damn entertaining and definitely worth a few listems. I strongly recommend giving it a few spins (and “yes” it is available on vinyl), as these ditties grow on you.

Eureka is produced by Ryan Guldemold, the band’s principal writer, lead guitarist and male vocalist. Mother Mother also features the vocals of Ryan’s sister Molly and Jasmin Parkin and their three part harmonies are found throughout. Those smooth harmonies coupled with their quirky distinctive music deliver a handful of unique infectious tunes.

The first four tracks are all excellent. “Chasing It Down” kicks off the album. The song is a roller coaster ride of mixed tempos, and features a hook from Ryan’s distinctive falsetto that will bounce in your head for days.  The harmonies from the ladies and 70’s influenced organ riffs are unique and entertaining.  It is followed by “The Stand” the first single released by the band, which features a humorous Boy vs. Girl call-and-answer vocal performance from all three singers. The song is not great, but the lyrics are, as evidenced by Ryan explaining his vices; “There’s women on bikes or just women who straddle.”

“Baby Don’t Dance” is my favorite track off of the album. I reflexively cranked up the volume to this tune, and it became an instant favorite and is just a total blast to listen to. Fantastic vocals, great keys, cool bass and guitar. Simply described, it’s just a great party song, possibly one of my Top 10 for the year. You may find yourself reminiscing about classic B-52 dance tunes. “Original Sin” gets off to a mediocre musical start, but the vocals as usual are superb, with all three vocalists playing key roles.  It’s another one that you’ll find yourself singing along with.

Those first four tunes are all very strong.  Afterwards, some of the songs seem a bit over-produced, but do a good job highlighting the band’s intricate harmonies and clear musical talent, including bassist Jeremy Page and Ali Siadat on drums.

“Simply Simple” is a beautiful song with amazing lyrics from Ryan, clearly showcasing the high end of his great range.  Again the harmonies are dead on.  They remind me of the beautiful harmonies from the 90’s talented yet under-the-radar Voice of the Beehive. “Simply Simple” is immediately followed by “Problems,” which again accentuates the band’s incredible diversity.  This ditty hearkens back to the more rockabilly sound from their earlier recordings.  The guitar is great, Jeremy Page’s bass is superbly hypnotic, and it’s just a blast to listen to. “Oleander” is a big song that again features great vocals, and nice keys.

The remainder of the songs are enjoyable, if not unremarkable.  I feel as though the band was trying to highlight their musicianship, harmonies and diversity. Personally, I’d prefer a few more like “Baby Don’t Dance!”

Check out the album linked below from iTunes, where you can get the entire thing, plus a few bonus tracks for an excellent price of $7.99.