Review Summary: Why people shouldn't pretend to be something they're not.
Well Mother Mother did it.
Jumped the shark, I mean. Mother Mother’s fourth album, “The Sticks,” is dark and depressing in lyrical content, with musical backing desperately trying to fit in. By that I mean, it sounds forced. The instrumentation isn’t bad per se, but it certainly doesn’t feel natural for most of the album.
Mother Mother made their name with upbeat, light-hearted, indie rock, and while I applaud them for branching out and trying new ideas, this drastic change in style doesn’t work. Unsurprisingly, the strongest tracks on the album are the ones that mix their old, light-hearted sound with the new, jaded lyrics.
“Dread in My Heart,” “Infinitesimal,” and “Little Pistol” are tastes of what this album should have been - stripped-down indie rock that highlights issues in today’s society - and they are delicious morsels indeed.
The problem is that the majority of the album doesn’t adhere to that. The airy, indie sound we’ve come to expect is replaced with repressive guitar riffs and music devoid of most of the elements that made Mother Mother so good.
Right from the get-go, I knew Mother Mother was in trouble. Opening track, “Omen,” is a cliché, piano driven track complete with a ‘creepy’ child mimicking lead male vocalist Ryan Guldemond to a tee. This is followed by two sub-par tracks, “The Sticks” and “Let’s Fall In Love.” The first is simply boring and tedious, but the second is downright awful.
Besides being annoyingly repetitive and composed of one or two distorted riffs, “Let’s Fall In Love” harps on how everyone from “mommy” and “daddy” to “funny little monkeys at the zoo,” “does it.” I can see what they were going for, but they missed the mark by a long ways and ended up with quite possibly the worst track of their career.
Again, it's not all bad - the album does get a little better as it goes along - and the majority of the tracks aren’t terrible. Rather, with the exception of the positive and negative songs I mentioned above, most of the album is relatively harmless, with the biggest problem being that the musical accompaniment for most songs feels like it was deliberately made darker to match the lyrics.
In an attempt to call out society for lying about what the true human condition is, Mother Mother compromised its own principles and crafted an album untrue to itself and its sound.
And that’s the real tragedy.
“Dread In My Heart”