Universal Music Canada
Dance And Cry
In the last few years Vancouver’s Mother Mother has veered towards pop farther while their underlying writing continues to grow stranger in great ways. On their latest album however Mother Mother are testing the waters quite a bit, although not always in the most coherent manner. While the album suffers from a few too many generic pop sound palettes, Mother Mother make sure to constantly flip their genre scripts.
As Mother Mother take a little break from their usually raw riffing, they dive into a dark cosmic cloud of ambiance on “I Must Cry Out Loud.” Even while it taps into writing they’ve explored in the past, there’s something powerful to the momentum and serious tone they put into it as they rush forward. Despite a simple pop core on “Dance & Cry” they colour it through their aggressive and often muddy delivery. Right as it feels like they might lean into their single direction a little too much, there’s such an openness to their b-sections that you’ll wonder where they hope to go next. “Get Up” is definitely the most familiar Mother Mother track of the whole record, as they bring fangs out in bouncy pop to make it as jagged as possible. This leaves things a little torn as it’s certainly fun but so buried in what they’ve done before that it feels out of place with their initial tone on the album.
However as they move into songs like “So Down,” it appears Mother Mother is using everything, including folk-rock, to try and explore their story in new lights. Interestingly however, it almost seems like they mask some of their best writing this way, as all the melodies are gripping, while their sonics seem tried to death. “Good At Loving You” at least breathes in its pop excitedly and lets so many harmonies fly that you’ll be mesmerized. Then they switch to a much more sombre not on “Biting On A Rose” as they critique a sense of fake-emotion, while completely changing up their vocal approach.
Once you hit the great choral riffing of “It’s Allright” you can see the fraying at the pretty seams that makes Mother Mother so interesting to hear. Luckily their messages are a strong force here, as the track feels a little to steeped in mainstream pop gloss to not feel a little saccharine at first. Ryan Guldemond is at his raspy and borderline spitting into the microphone shouting heights on “Give Me Back The Night” for a reckless and over-the-top pop track. While it starts off almost laughably cliché, it grows more demented and weirdly dreamy that it makes its pop fun again. “Back To Life” however seems to reject these tones as Mother Mother mix some of their more angular origins and throw all their new weird production tones into it.
While the core of something like “Only Love” is a pop song we’ve heard from dozens of bands, Mother Mother bring a Western darkness to it amongst their own lyrical punch. This said the track’s verses and even choruses fall short of its fun drops, and it works best as a spoken-word piece. They 180 into “Bottom Is A Rock” however as overtly quirky verses are hard-pressed into completely different choruses. Though their slip into a little bit of circus tones might be pushing it, this is definitely one of the more interesting offerings, especially next to the emotional but sonically redundant “Keep.”
Words by Owen Maxwell