Review Summary: As canned as this might sound, they are one of the last 'real' rockbands out there. This is their definite record.
THE BAND ( the latest formation ):
-David Gould (v,b)
-Christian Leibfried (guitars)
-Bryan Tulao (guitars)
-Sasha Popovic (drums)
About 3 years ago,I first saw Mother Tongue playing live as a mere supporting act for a punk-pop outfit called 'the donots', who are quiet a big thing here in Germany and totally replaceable, a gig I will never forget, for it was the one and only time i witnessed a band, who are doomed to heat up a crowd impatiently waiting for the main-act, playing and surpassing the latter by miles. Obviously, I was one of the first in line to purchase a CD Mother Tongue were distributing afterwards. At home, and after having listened to the CD ('Ghost note') countless times, I wondered why the hell Mother Tongue, a band already around since 1990, were still supporting mainly ***ty and inferior artists.
My research on the band quickly confirmed an assumption that had been (and is still) giving me headaches for a very long time. Playing in a rockband is surely the coolest thing to do on earth, but when neither you nor any of the other band-members are outstandingly good-looking and when you don't want your songs to simply replicate the currently hottest music, creating and playing your own music professionally is very likely to become a snowballing burden. In case of Mother Tongue, with virtually no promotion from their first label 'sony', stolen equipment, dissension between band members leading to a temporary breakup and virtually no commercial success, it's a marvelous thing to see the band on stage again, as passionate and energetic as ever. I'd even go so far to say that MT is the best rock-band I've ever witnessed performing on stage. It's a shame to know that they are little more than an insider's tip here in Germany and virtually unknown anywhere else in the world.
So what about the music itself, you'll probably ask by now. Well, its obvious that MT did not reinvent rock as we know it (otherwise you'd certainly have read more about them in your monthly music paper ), nor did they ever intend to do so. Being active for now almost twenty years, they, thankfully, never have paid any attention to the latest and hottest direction of modern rock, nor has their music ever drifted away on the obscure and/or by now battered paths of Indie/Alternative-rock .Instead, they have found their very own alcove and comprised the most essential of muscular, groovy, deep and vibrant bluesrock, strongly influenced by some definite rock-formations like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix or The Doors, combined with the intensity of Hardcore Groups like Black Flag, the groove of funkmusic and ,often, the warmth and sublimity of Soul. Founded in California in the early nineties, it's also safe to say that the so-called desert-rock movement had a notable impact on their music. Many of their songs are full of suspense, which, not unfrequently, develops in long jam-passages.
Most importantly, their music can be regarded as that rare result of a convention of equally crafted musicians, who seem to be perfectly blended with each other and who, albeit years of virtually no commercial success, share an apparently ineffaceable passion in playing music , putting all their combined skill into the service of creating not an incoherent mess of musical ability, but instead catchy, intoxicating rocksongs. Never having been role-models for any musical trend, it's also safe to say that MT are one of the last 'real' rockbands out there, if there are any, living, quite honestly, for their music, oblivious to special looks or sales.
Their penultimate output 'Ghost Note' is the perfect evidence for what I've just written, it's their best release so far, simply because its their most versatile, yet most homogeneous album. Brilliantly produced, one can recognize every single aspect that's so defining for MT's music. Moreover, 'Ghost Note' perfectly captures the energy and atmosphere of a life-performance, which will cause at least one of your limbs to move while listening. Skip to any passage of any song and you will certainly find another great riff or a great hookline, Ghost Note has plenty to offer. While some songs are catchy-as-hell ( Dark side baby, Missing, That Man, Sad song ) and others need more time to develop ( The Storm, Alien, In the night time ), all of them are very well executed, thanks to the work of two, outstandingly interacting guitars, a vibrant, groovy bass and simply great drums. It's stunning that although many songs on 'Ghost Note' take surprising turns in their progression and develop into something completely unexpected, the flow of the music is never disrupted and, after a few listens, it's impossible for one to think of a different turn a song might have taken. For anybody who loves rock ( particularly RHCP fans will be pleased ), the purchase of this album is obligatory. I'd even recommend 'Ghost Note' to all the skeptical music-lovers out there as 'Ghost Note' will offer enough intriguing facettes to keep you listening for a while.