Museum Mouth - Tears In My Beer
Release Date: March 18, 2010
Record Label: Unsigned
The latest float to appear in the budding parade of lo-fi bands is Southport, North Carolina’s Museum Mouth. They share the same appreciation for fuzzy, low quality production (a niche some hail as genius and some dub “crap”) as Japandroids and Sleigh Bells, though that’s where the similarities begin to wane. Not quite as inventive as Japandroids, nor as hip as Sleigh Bells, Museum Mouth instead look to the Blink-182’s of the world for inspiration, settling for candid lo-fi pop-punk. And because of that, they sound confident on Tears In My Beer.
The album runs just as you’d expect it to: 10 tracks of bouncy melodies, some flimsier than others. Aside from some experimentation in “Planet Courtney,” and synths and a raucous punk rock breakdown in “The End of Days,” it doesn’t really bother to reach outside of the pop-punk comfort zone. But that’s fine, because most of the songs pack enough “catchy” to satisfy. “I may seem out of touch, and sometimes out of reach, but when the going gets tough, I’m gonna go to the beach,” they sing on “Go To the Beach.” So they understand quite well what pop-punk’s all about.
Still, it doesn’t take too long before you start wondering what Museum Mouth might sound like if they invested in some production. Sure, the lo-fi style is fashionable, but they’ve already proven they have the chops to pen some solid songs, so why not highlight their ability by bringing out the best of their sound? Here, by contrast, the vocals are often muddled beyond comprehension, and what could have been interesting duels between the male and female voices end up getting overshadowed by static drum tones. Not that Tears In My Beer isn’t enjoyable – because it most definitely is – but there’s a pervading sense of un-embraced potential throughout the album. Museum Mouth is appealing at the moment, but they could be downright captivating if they choose to evolve.