Review Summary: Containing lyrical gems, beautiful vocal work and intriguing instrumentation, O My Heart brings a new twist to a genre known for its somewhat straightforward sound.
Mother Mother was (at the time of release):
Debra-Jean Creelman - Vocals
Molly Guldemond, - Keys, Vocals
Ryan Guldemond – Guitar, Vocals
Jeremy Page – Bass
Ali Saidat – Drums
Formed in 2005 on Quadra Island, BC, Mother Mother are a five-piece Canadian band that plays a unique brand of indie rock. Their second album O My Heart
was released to critical acclaim in September 2008 by Last Gang records.
O My Heart
is everything that a good indie rock album should be. It’s catchy and full of guitar hooks and excellent vocals, but with a strong rhythm section capable of driving the tunes along. Album-opener, lead-single, and title track O My Heart
introduces the listener to the band’s penchant for combining enticing musical passages with interesting vocal work while creating a fun, playful even, atmosphere, despite being one of the album’s weaker tracks.
What will most likely draw could-be listeners into the Mother Mother sound is the excellent and unique vocal work that can be found in nearly every track. Ryan Guldemond’s lead vocals blend gracefully with the back up vocals of Molly Guldemond (his sister) and Debra-Jean Creelman to create a rich vocal tone that adds an extra layer to the music sonically. The harmonization between the three vocalists is most notable on tracks such as Burning Pile
but is present in some way on each song.
So the album delivers vocally, but what of the lyrics? Fortunately, Mother Mother also delivers the goods lyrically (for what good are excellent vocals without the lyrics to back them up?) On Burning Pile
, for example, the mesmerizing vocal work is backed up by lyrics that are personal to an extent, but don’t separate the listener from the emotional content: …all my money been a long time spent/ on my drugs, on my rent/ oh my saving philosophy/ It goes one in the bank and the rest for me/ All my troubles on a burning pile, all lit up and I start to smile, if I catch fire then I’ll change my aim, and throw my troubles at the pearly gates
. Other great lyrical moments are sprinkled throughout the album. Passages found in songs like Wrecking Ball
(I made a wreck out of my hand/ I put it through the wall/ I made a fist and not a hand/ Call me a reckless wrecking ball
), or Try to Change
( Try to change/ I try to change/ I make a list of all the ways to change my ways/ but I stay the same/ in a decadent age
) are simple, but clever, and are easy to relate to.
Instrumentally, Mother Mother generally sticks to the “standard” rock instruments: guitars, bass, drums and some keyboards. However, by using an array of tones and textures, the album never sounds stale. Guldemold’s guitar style changes from the soothing finger-picking of Ghosting
to the more riff oriented sound of Hayloft
often enough to ensure that no two songs sound the same. When appropriate, strings are tastefully used as well. In the jaunty, lyrically driven Body
, for example, choppy violins drive the verses towards the more calm, melodic chorus.
Some signs of diversity are displayed when the band ventures into ever so slightly heavier territory (emphasis on “ever so slightly”) like on Hayloft
. This riff driven tune about two lovers getting caught by a gun-wielding father doing you-know-what up in, you guessed it, a hayloft features a crunchier and more percussive guitar sound then the rest of the album therein creating a more ominous sounding track. By developing this sense of musical diversity and continuing to take varying sonic approaches to their songs, Mother Mother could well erase some of the only flaws found on this album and inch closer to creating a true masterpiece.
Even on these “heavier” tracks, the bottom line with Mother Mother’s music is that it is playful, happy-go-lucky, and just plain fun. But don’t be fooled, this record is not one-dimensional. It combines accessibility with various different types of sounds and themes to create a truly unique musical experience that is playful and meaningful all at once.
This album is for anyone with even a slight inclination towards rock, indie, or folk music, or anybody who likes fun at all (stay away, goth and vamp kids).