Mother Mother - The Sticks
Record Label: Last Gang Records
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Something about the world today / Makes a boy feel a bit insane. And so begins The Sticks, the newest release from the Canadian art-pop group Mother Mother. It’s pop music, but it comes with an edge that sounds straight out of the hip art school in some booming city where everything is fresh and new again. It’s pretty and lush when it’s not haunting, and sometimes even when it is. Every aspect of The Sticks is balanced and counterbalanced until the whole album is on the verge of total chaos. There’s references to love and death, to happiness and suicide, and to drugs that bring joy and drugs that no longer work. The result is a pop album that invites you in and then does its best to make you feel uncomfortable.
Standout first single “Let’s Fall In Love” is not so much a love song or even an anti-love song as much as it is an existential acknowledgement that people fall in love and the result is a cat and mouse game with no clear winner or point of control. The track exhibits the band at their most potent. There’s clever lyrics, that never slip up and become cynical or trite, and a catchy pop arrangement that capitalizes on its dark edge without being impaled by it. “Dread In My Heart” is an upbeat summery number about “a god-awful shitty feeling” that can hold its own with the best of the cottage industry of indie-pop songs that have employed this contrast over the past few years. Again, the track shows the bands ability to offer an honest critique that doesn’t feel tongue in cheek or bitter.
The Sticks is like an ambitious novel. There’s some sections that might not work out as well as they were envisioned but Mother Mother never lose the plot or allow the story to unravel. It’s a pop album that isn’t afraid to reach and show personality. The end result is an album that has countless emotions and stylings to offer, but boring is nowhere to be found.