Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review: Mother Mother - O My Heart (* * * 1/2)

You should never judge a book by its cover nor an album by its sleeve; we all know that. But sometimes you might have an idea of what you're getting yourself into. With a band named Mother Mother, a CD entitled O My Heart (the shape, not the word), and a fish with a hook through its lip on the cover, you might think you're in for an strange experience. You would be correct.

That's because Mother Mother is an odd band. And by odd I do not mean "experimental," I mean "comprised of a bunch of weirdos." At least that's what I've inferred after listening to their sophomore effort. That's hardly a bad thing. Eccentricities and personality are what propel many bands, Mother Mother included, up from being one of a thousand indie acts making albums this year that won't be worth your time. O My Heart is a compelling listen because it was made by quirky, interesting people with obvious musical talent who focused on making an album, not an experiment.

The music is at times reminiscent of indie-pop legends Arcade Fire or The New Pornographers; melodic, harmonious, and catchy. Each track is packed with earnest male/female/female vocals, guitar hooks, and repetitive choruses. Having three strong singers in a band that harmonize so well together is a weapon Mother Mother uses to great effect, making already catchy tracks such as "Body of Years," and the spastic "Hayloft," even more fascinating. The lyrics incorporate strange metaphors and unusual phrases, best showcased on "Wrecking Ball," a deceptively pleasant song about anger.

O My Heart does drag at times when the tempo slows and the songs become less fun. "Try to Change" and "Miles," seem blasé in comparison to the album's high points. Also, the record feels a bit light on substance; even at 12 tracks and 42 minutes it borders on being overlong considering the material. Still, O My Heart is an indie rock album that should certainly garner some well-deserved attention for its fresh, fun sound. It might not provide much beyond its initial impression, but that impression is very much worth having.

Favorite Tracks: "Wrecking Ball," "Body of Years," "Arms Tonight"

Mother Mother's MySpace page.

Hear the full album this week at