If you’re anything like us here at Ca Va Cool – meaning you get a lot of your music from blogs and CBC “Top 10!” Radio 3 – you won’t be able to avoid Mother Mother’s new single ‘The Stand’ for very long. You may as well check out the album that surrounds it, too. Eureka is the third release for the quintet from Quadra Island, BC, and like Touch Up and O My Heart it’s driving and unsettling pop music, tailored to dark moods and indie dance nights. Menacing three-part harmonies and the quirky personalities of frontman Ryan Guldemond and his little sister Molly continue to define the band’s style and edge.

Where Mother Mother’s songs have usually been frantic and folky with plenty of mid-song changeups in time and key, Eureka keeps things steadier and adds a generous handful of synths. The outstanding opener ‘Chasing It Down’ folds in a bit of John Lennon, while ‘Calm Me Down’ channels the Strokes circa First Impressions of Earth, flaring out in an anthemic chant and marking the first time Mother Mother has offered up an excellent closing track. The band’s not afraid to reach into its bag of used tricks — some melodies in particular will strike the dedicated fan as more than a little familiar, which would be troubling if the entire album was just a tinkering rework of older stuff, but it’s not. It’s definitely evolutionary, like a new actor playing a familiar role, and the recycled material sounds different enough among the synths and stronger beats.

Back to ‘The Stand’: Mother Mother has this curious tradition of picking highly challenging radio singles. They tend to be grating, infuriating, and fascinating, both in music and lyrics, and ‘The Stand’ could hardly fit in any better. ‘Polynesia’ was nonsensical and ‘Hayloft’ was violent, and ‘The Stand’ is bizarre in its own way: a defensive, mean-spirited, awkward, sexually charged conversation between the male Guldemond and a legion of fans – critics? doctors? good old-fashioned disembodied voices? – trying to get into his head. It’s catchy as hell, which is why you’ll probably encounter it soon through one medium or another if you haven’t already. Guldemond only reluctantly starts spilling his neuroses as the track begins, but here he is releasing the damn thing as a single. Add to all this the fact that the challenging lines are given voice by the guy’s baby sister, and you’ve got a psychoanalyst’s dream — and an infectious song that I know I’ll get sick of at some point, but certainly haven’t yet. As they begin to deal with expanding crowds and rising expectations, this weird earworm of a single, and to a lesser degree the album that surrounds it, further establishes Mother Mother as an excellent source of whimsy and affable creepiness.

Mother Mother – The Stand
Mother Mother – Chasing It Down


— , April 7, 2011    2 Comments

Was it ever made clear why Debra-Jean, the original backing vocalist, left the band? Always found that a bit odd, given she had her own song with “Love and Truth.”

Kevin Kania, April 8, 2011

I don’t know the internal politics of it, but she left to start her own thing: http://radio3.cbc.ca/#/bands/Debra-Jean-the-Means

— Josh, April 8, 2011