Review Summary: Welcome to the mind of a pissed off, self-hating college dropout.
Aggressive. That one word describes both Single Mothers’ sound and the front-man Andrew Thomson’s mindset. As he states on “Marbles,” the second track of the album, “‘Cause I’m a hypocrite and I’m okay with it / I’m so self-aware that it’s crippling” and that pretty much sums up the album lyrics wise. He has absolutely nothing positive to say; not about college, not about himself, and sure as hell not about girls. Songs about drug-fueled debauchery like “Half-Lit” are tinged with cynicism and tracks like “Patricide” and “Ketamine” are about his relationships (or lack thereof) with women he could not give a *** about unless they’re going to sleep with him. He’s not proud of any of it, that’s readily apparent, and that’s what’s partially so magnetizing about him. On “Blood Pressure” one of his girls tells him to “either make a change or shut the *** up about it already.” That’s not happening anytime soon and that’s the way I like it. The angrier Thomson gets the more creative the lyrics. These aren’t your average angsty lyrics, they’re actually clever and have a lot of bite to them. “Marbles” is easily the best example of this where Thomson rants about how much he despises what he deems pretentious essays and the like. To most people that’s anti-intellectual, to him he’s just being honest. At least he doesn’t pretend his “whole life’s held together by bookends!”
Thomson’s screaming vocals are just a part of the rest of the band’s equally aggressive style. Blistering drum-work, deceptively-simple guitars licks, this is noise punk at its absolute best. This isn’t the usual basic, chugging guitar work of most punk bands; this has complex riffs going in and out and wailing guitars bleeding over-top to create some insanely catchy melody, and, dare I say it, atmosphere. “Crooks” features a particularly memorable whistle-like effect on the chorus that is infectious as hell. Nothing is overly produced or complex, it’s just straight energy all the way through. This is that grimy, underground bar moshpit type of music and it comes across with just as much power on record as it does live.
There’s nothing recycled, nothing repetitive. They keep their songs on the shorter end of modern music and stick to the usual verse-chorus-verse style but with enough variation from each verse to keep it interesting at all times. Everyone in the band gets their time to shine on each track, nothing is ever buried. The album even ends on the slowest song the group has ever done and it’s still clearly a punk song with the same ideas that fill the rest of the album. While the lyrics may be full of negative ideas, the album’s sound doesn’t have any.