Mother Mother Get Away From it All
They may not admit it, but with Mother Mother’s fourth release, a fully formed concept album has emerged that is at once in agreement and in conflict with its escapist message. The Sticks starts with youthfulness. Frontman Ryan Guldemond harmonizes in the opener “Omen” with a child, presumably his younger self. Foreshadowing the rest of the album while moving full steam ahead, the eponymous eight-minute track that follows is sweeping in scope. Where Mother Mother sticks with a core message of getting away from it all and the consequences that follow, they also stay true to their recent form of mixing in almost every genre imaginable. Just past the vinyl pops of “The Sticks” comes a finely crafted song with the haunting clicks and clacks of industrial rock and operatic vocals on par with Muse’s Matthew Bellamy.
A particular wildcard of a track is the five-piece’s reimagining of the famous Cole Porter ditty “Let’s Fall In Love.” Rather than celebrate those intimate moments with the sincerity and brevity of the Broadway musicals of old, Mother Mother take a sardonic approach more befitting of someone considering asexuality rather than getting beneath the sheets. Wry lines run rampant throughout The Sticks, shining their strongest in the first half of the album. Once the treble rumble of “Bit by Bit” flatlines into “Latter Days,” we experience the comedown. Echoey piano and effects roll into jangly guitar, and despite Guldemond’s fervor, there is a softness to his demands as he sings, “No, I ain’t comin’ out today/Oh, hell no/No, I’m-a stay in my cage.”
Yet Mother Mother have come a long way since they doubled their name and released the electronic-happy Touch Up in 2007. The Sticks is a strong foundation for furthering their musical discovery. Their expansive desire to incorporate it all may endear them to listeners as much as they repel them, and if this album is any indication, Mother Mother are more than content to continue on to the beat of a different drum, cowbell, triangle, and whatever else they may find.