Review Summary: Juxtaposition at its finest.
“Pokemon is an undeniable obsession with children across the country.”
As an instrumental of the Jackson 5s ‘I Want You Back’ takes the foreground, various clips of reporters vaguely explaining what a Pokemon is can be heard. Pokemon are incredible creatures that share the world with humans. It began as a video game in Japan but has grown into its own series of music, movies, a TV show, and even trading cards. Pokemon has swept the world. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows - we see that Pokemon cards are responsible for fights on school grounds, turning them into black markets. It’s a craze that could turn into a world order.We shouldn’t let our children play, buy, not even watch Pokemon. Why should they be carrying these monsters in their pocket? The Pokemon world opens a world of the demonic - the satanic! The violins in the chorus soar higher and higher. Hermain Cain delivers us a message of hope. Just look inside… And you will find… The Pokemon. ‘Pokemon’ is then repeated for a minute straight as the cheery tune marches onwards and the word begins to lose it’s meaning. Cains words return, getting progressively slower before fading into the next track.
At it’s core, this is what Mouth Silence is. Sounds that should be at odds with each other coming together to create an experience that keeps your curiosity piqued. Whether it’s a carefully constructed track that brings its material together to create something entirely different or a track that uses the difference of sound to humorous effect, there is not one minute on this album that isn’t attention-grabbing. Mouth Silence is a journey through the power of juxtaposition.
And there’s a wonderful two sides to it. At any given moment, Mouth Silence is trying to do one of them - that is, it wants you to nod your head and it wants you to laugh. Don’t worry about it not achieving either of those things. There’s more than enough material here that should at least have you cracking a smile - Love Psych takes The B-52s classic ‘Love Shack’ and pairs it with the theme from Psycho. Suddenly the Love Shack is precariously placed next to the Bates Motel. The two songs are at such odds with each other that the track turns into something else entirely. Space Monkey Mafia takes “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “It’s The End Of The World as We Know It” and unifies them through a chiptune track that moves at lightning speed, growing in intensity as it continues, turning into a storm of cultural reference before your eyes. Anything I try to say about Crocodile Chop would not do it justice - it is something that needs to be heard to understand.
The other defining factor of Mouth Silence is the monstrosities it throws at you. By monstrosities I don’t mean bad or horribly made - I mean a single song made up of The Foo Fighters, Joe Esposito, Tina Turner, One Direction and the Folgers jingle. These are amalgamations of sound that take inspiration from all walks of pop music and the thing that makes them so great is that while they may seem unbelievable, they are far from unlistenable. Numbers is the perfect example of this - a five minute expedition through instances of phone numbers in pop music, intertwined with ads for 1-900 numbers from the 90s that gives off a vaguely nostalgic feeling right alongside a groove that sticks in your mind.
The charm of Mouth Silence (and its sequel Mouth Sounds) is like that of any mashup song - hear something you know altered by placing it alongside something else you might know to make something new. What makes Mouth Silence special is how many directions it goes in - every track sounds totally different from the next. Sometimes the changes are gradual and songs slide together smoothly, creating a familiar new sound. And sometimes the changes are abrupt and jarring, but those are the moments you’ll remember. The unexpected changes in tone are punchlines that easily carry themselves through their respective tracks. It’s this juxtaposition that makes listening to Mouth Silence so memorable.
What it really comes down to is this - Mouth Silence is fifty-six minutes of pure, genuine entertainment you will not forget.