Mother Mother - The Sticks
Released on 12th February 2013 via Last Gang Records
In 2005, Canadian pop-folk band Mother Mother’s lead vocalist and guitarist Ryan Guldemond’s musical objective was to produce a band that would deliver vocal-driven pop music. And while the melodic complementation of his and his sister, Molly’s (Mother Mother’s female lead) voices more than achieves this, perhaps one thing Guldemond didn’t determine then was that his outfit would not only be vocally driven, but lyrically driven too.
It’s truly difficult to refer to Mother Mother without alluding to its smart, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, always heavily crafted lyrics. With themes of apocalyptic doom, technological development and the superficialities of humanity, Mother Mother’s fourth studio album The Sticks swells with lyrical commentary and controversy on present tidings and possible futures. “It’s truly brilliant, the industrial revolution and the technological revolution are mind blowing,” Guldemond praises. “But maybe our capabilities aren’t in the stature to deal with it properly, because it has been much to the demise of communication and intimacy and community and inter-community. It’s a great subject to think about, and there’s a lot of poetic vehicles as well, so lyrically, it was a lot of fun, rife with opportunities to have punchy phonetics,” he says.
Indeed. From Latter Days to Infinitesimal the lyrics, Look at the girl with the modern face, she got lipstick an inch thick and pixelates, what could it be she is trying to say? What kind of love is she trying to make? and, They say it started with a Big Bang, but they say it came out of a small thing, lately I’ve been feeling like the Big Bang because I’ve been making something out of nothing (respectively) resonate cleanly on the siblings’ perfect diction and drive their attitude-injected songs home. “There’s true blue Mother Mother cynicism in about a third of the songs,” Guldemond outwardly admits. Which third that is is up to you to determine.
Let’s Fall in Love is, no doubt, one. A satire of the traditional love song by the same name, its terse nature makes sordid play of society’s obsession with sex. Disguised as an addictive pop tune, this ironic piece flippantly sings of everything from funny little monkeys in the zoo doing it to the Christian religion’s Mary and “Joey” doing it. On the other side of the scale, title track The Sticks is a dark, edgy tune, lost in grunge and heavy Nirvana-style drumbeats. An oddity on the album, it unveils a side of Mother Mother less often explored. Despite this, the band carries the genre off well, emotion ripping through the song like a heavy knife as daunting images of the hooded woods that lie beyond the familiar are painted in a melodic foray that never quite finds its lift, though undoubtedly was never supposed to.
Businessman flows off this constricted wavelength like honey and is a cute little ditty that is more easily digested. The clear standout however must go to single Bit by Bit. With its staccato overlaying, cheeky and determined lyrics, electric guitar medley and sharp vocals, it screams radio play and can’t-get-it-outta-my-head moments. Not to be overlooked however is Infinitesimal, a typical upbeat Mother Mother number that is a mongrel of genres, sporting semblances of pop, dance, synth and folk, ultimately showcasing the melodic prowess and harmonious vocalisations of the Guldemond siblings in all their glory.