Mother Mother
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Mother Mother

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM
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It’s hard to predict what a new Mother Mother album is going sound like.

Over the course of six years and four albums, the Vancouver five piece has refused to be pinned down to just one sound, evolving from an oddball take on folk from their 2007 debut, Touch Up, into something resembling pop-rock on more recent efforts.

Their latest, The Stand, continues to push all those genres to the edge, almost as if the band is intentionally trying to defy definition.

When I suggest this to lead songwriter Ryan Guldemond and drummer Ali Siadat while sitting at the Motel Bar in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood in August, it elicits mock evil laughter from Guldemond.

“Music is such a vast language, such a large palette of colours to choose from, and we’re pretty open to it all,” he says.

The one thing listeners can count on, and which has remained consistent since album one, is the dynamic of male and female voices playing off each other, helped by a 60:40 gender ratio in the band. Siblings Ryan and Molly Guldemond, on guitar and keyboard, respectively, share vocal duties with Jasmin Parkin, also on keyboard, Jeremy Page on bass and Siadat on drums

This can result in cheeky call and response, such as The Stand from last year’s album Eureka, or in blended harmonies, such as on Let’s Fall in Love, the lead single from their new album The Sticks.

It has, in a way, become the band’s signature, but it has also resulted in some unfavourable comparisons.

“The B-52s,” Guldemond offers. “People always liken us to them, and they’re all fine and dandy. Love Shack. Who can argue? It’s great, but it’s not valid.”

Siadat, trying to make sense of the comparison, adds, “OK, there are girls’ voices and guys’ voices. I think it is that aesthetic, I just don’t see it sonically or lyrically.”

But if critics and fans have a hard time explaining the sound of Mother Mother, so to does Mother Mother.

“You could just say pretty literal things,” says Guldemond, taking long pauses every few words, carefully selecting his next. “Like adventurous … harmony and melody … coupled with strange and foreboding lyrics … to the backdrop of a rock band aesthetic. You could say all this dumb stuff that may be accurate, but it’s meaningless.”

Both Guldemond and Siadat contend that they don’t go into the recording of a new album with the intent to surprise their listeners, nor do they have any particular sound or theme in mind. What comes out the other end is simply the result of, as Guldemond puts it, “following a good whim from an all-telling muse.”

Siadat adds that it’s part of “staying true to the songs. I think words like eclectic get applied to us a lot, because when these different songs with individual entities get developed and fleshed out in their own individual ways and remain those individual identities without necessarily having to sound like each other, people end up seeing music that is eclectic. The songs stand alone as little flowers that exist individually without necessarily having to be brothers and sisters.”

Adds Guldemond: “A garden of dandelions alone would be nothing to swoon over.”

The Sticks, which was written on the road while Mother Mother was touring for Eureka and recorded in Vancouver’s Hipposonic Studios, continues this, for lack of a better word, “eclectic” approach.

From the psychedelic title track to the acoustic-driven Love It Dissipates to the hard-rocking The Cry Forum, Mother Mother continues its genre bending. It may make the sound tough to explain, even for the band itself, but that seems to be exactly what they’re after.

‘Talking about something like music is actually talking around music,” says Siadat. “You only really hit the nail on the head when you hear the music. It speaks for itself.”

Although Guldemond does add that one person has come close to hitting that proverbial nail.

“This girl once said, ‘I finally get your band. It’s the colour white,’ ” he says. “Everybody knows white isn’t a colour, but regardless, it was almost the best description I had ever heard. It’s a blinding white light.”

Mother Mother’s The Sticks is available now. They kick-off a cross-Canada tour Nov. 17 in Halifax. For more concert dates, visit Mothermothersite.com. - National Post


It may have been three years since Vancouver indie-pop band Mother Mother released their sophomore record, 'O My Heart,' but as soon as the thumping bass of the title track kicked off their headlining set Wednesday night at the Phoenix Concert Theatre as part of Canadian Music Week, it was as if no time had passed at all.

Playing to a sold-out crowd, the band treated fans to a slew of new songs from their upcoming release 'Eureka!' (due March 15) following the one-two punch of the aforementioned opener and energetic high of 'Hay Loft.' The repetitive chorus of new track 'Baby Don't Dance' was ironic, of course, as the crowd did the exact opposite all night, dancing to every song, new and old.

But it was the fresh songs that highlight the band's newfound maturity, strengthened songwriting and pitch-perfect singing. The vocal force of Ryan Guldemond, his sister Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Park is truly compelling, not just for their distinct higher register, but for the tight harmonies and confidence in their attack. The animated moves onstage certainly don't hurt their cause either.

Ryan Guldemond, who fronts the group, kindly guided listeners throughout the set, tipping them off to fresh songs and alerting them to fan favourites when the group pulled out older gems such as 'Wrecking Ball.'

He easily enthralled the crowd with his antics, too, throwing his body wherever the music took him, whether it was rocking riffs on the edge of the stage or leaning sideways while playing as if he was in a 'Matrix' movie. His sister Molly and Parkin attracted their own attention as they were firecrackers, jumping and dancing every chance they had between words. And whenever the pair playfully jumped around onstage, the crowd mirrored their excitement.

With the new record and masterful live show, the five-piece are definitely leaping towards breakout success -- that much is clear by the way people embraced Mother Mother's return with open arms at the Phoenix. - AOL Spinner


After a mere year-and-a-half away, Quad Island quintet Mother Mother are back with their fourth full-length. The Sticks possesses a sense of lyrical and musical abrasiveness that hasn't been explored in Mother Mother's previous output. More synth, and an electronic component, helps cleanse the group of any remains of their folk-pop past and drive them more into rock territory. The quirky art-pop is still very much apparent, but it's constrained behind a newfound edge. The album begins with driving guitar riffs and electronic elements, yet softens halfway through. "Dread in My Heart" is most reminiscent of Mother Mother's previous work; it's a soft acoustic ballad with that same tongue-in-cheek lyrical slyness (think a tame, pop version of the Violent Femmes). Strangely, first single "Let's Fall in Love" isn't indicative of the album's style, dabbling with that harder rock edge and pulling out all the stops with electronics and cute lyrics, sounding quite unlike anything else here. The band's grasp of hooks that stick with you for days has faded slightly, but has been replaced by a more musically progressive direction that will see them transforming into a whole new monster with their ensuing album, predictably coming out within the next year. - Exclaim!


In a room with a bull skull mounted above the stage and a series of worn cowboy boots strung above the doorway, a once-upon-a-time acoustic trio had an entire crowd dancing.

Mother Mother might have shed its indie-folk skin by adding an electric guitar and saxophone to its repertoire, but the five-piece band from north of the border still has a firm grasp of what makes it tick--an all-out vocal onslaught by singer/guitarist Ryan Guldemond and keyboardists Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin.

Full of life, Mother Mother set the tone for the evening with "The Stand," a sexy, upbeat song that features a more mature, developed, and lyrically experimental sound than anything released by the Vancouver musicians to date.

"You know us Canadians, we never expect too much when we come down south of the border," Ryan said, laughing. The crowd couldn't get enough of the band, who hopped back and forth among its three-album discography, creating a pleasant contrast of mellow head-nodding and spastic dancing.

Ryan, who studied guitar at a jazz college in Vancouver, was an utter beast on his black-and-orange-sunburst electric guitar. His solos were technical and exhilarating, and somehow he practically never looked at his fingers.

After nine or so songs of nonstop power and energy, the band took the set in a more relaxed direction with songs such as "Simply Simple" and "Polynesia." The group straddled a fine line between brutal intensity and emotional honesty, with lyrics like "I made a wreck out of my hand/I put it through the wall," from their single "Wrecking Ball," yielding a sing-along from the crowd.

What makes Mother Mother stand out, though, is its unconventional singing methods. The band's vocals have a conversational pattern, with Ryan often asking questions or stating his feelings on something and the women answering back. Not to mention that Ryan's vocal range could make Chris Martin blush--something most singers couldn't dream of pulling off.

The group's final song was a mind-blowing performance of "Hayloft" before they thanked the crowd and bowed out . . . to no avail. Everyone in attendance erupted with cheers, whistles, and hollers for several minutes before Mother Mother re-emerged with the biggest look of humbleness across each of their faces. There was a genuine sense of appreciation radiating from the band, and it made the final song that much better.

They finished the night with "O My Heart," then dedicated the concert to all the fathers in attendance for Father's Day. The crowd continued to roar, which prompted many to ask "Is a second encore possible?"

Unfortunately, it wasn't.

Overheard onstage: "A very happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. Thank you for bringing more people into the world. Procreation is a beautiful thing," Ryan Guldemond said.

Overheard outside: "That was the best scream for an encore I've ever heard," a woman told her friend after the show.

Personal bias: "Wrecking Ball" gave me a bigger chill than any song I've heard live in years. - Seattle Weekly


5/5 stars

A brilliantly catchy organ hook isn't a sentence you read very often, but with the opening track of their third release, Eureka, that's what Mother Mother have created. Already a success in their home of Canada, this release should secure their fortunes here in the UK.

Combining boy/girl harmonies, simple guitar riffs, synth noises and a host of other interesting instrumentation, the sound of Mother Mother is both creative and impressive. The start of the album is wonderfully upbeat, with single "The Stand" mixing up banjos with an almost hip-hop beat to great effect. The slower songs are less immediate but worth putting in the time for, particularly "Getaway" in which Molly Guldemond, the sister of frontman Ryan, takes control of the vocals with her baby-doll voice.

The dark lyrical tone of the album is masked sometimes by the joyful, poppy nature of some of the songs, but also by the effortlessness and calm of tracks like "Simply Simple" making for a consistently remarkable record throughout. This may well prove to be their eureka moment. - Artrocker


4/5 Stars

A eureka moment is a flash of understanding that seems to come from nowhere, though the situation it clarifies may be familiar to the point of obsession. We have a term for it because it's a rare experience - rare to the vanishing point on this album of confident pop songs about things that won't be found, people that can't be understood and societies in which "reality" is often a snare or a TV series.


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Eureka Mother Mother (Last Gang)

A eureka moment is a flash of understanding that seems to come from nowhere, though the situation it clarifies may be familiar to the point of obsession. We have a term for it because it's a rare experience - rare to the vanishing point on this album of confident pop songs about things that won't be found, people that can't be understood and societies in which "reality" is often a snare or a TV series.
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"Try chasing it down, it don't want to be found," Ryan Guldemond sings in the disc's opening minutes, before denying he is who he seems to be. He and everything else is in a dodge-and-weave state - sort of like the music on this disc, which never goes just one way when two or three would be more fun.

In Original Spin he complains about how hard it is to "feel something with an original spin," as the chorus changes harmony every other beat, as if clicking through so many different angles on the same puzzling view. But those changes are also going in a powerfully definite direction. Musically, the song has the tight pop mobility of anything by Max Martin, though if Martin's client Britney Spears were singing this stuff, we'd be talking about how badly we've underestimated her intelligence.

Guldemond, who wrote all the songs and lyrics and also plays guitar, puts a lot of drive into his material, but isn't afraid to take a detour, or several, from a strict verse-chorus format. It's common to find a couple of bridge-like sections sprouting from a latent melodic cue (as in Problems), or a coda that puts a new twist on everything that's gone before. My favourite in that line is Oleander's high wordless vocal flourish , which comes from nowhere but on second play feels indispensable.

The five Vancouver-based musicians of Mother Mother move very nimbly through Guldemond's maze-like constructions. Only occasionally do they settle into the thrumming metronomic beat that makes a lot of indie music sound as formulaic as anything on radio. Even then (in Simply Simple, for instance), Guldemond can't resist adding some new instrumental elaboration for the second verse. The textures of the music run from the rugged dance rock of Chasing It Down to the airy strummed mandolins of Getaway to the shining massive keyboard sounds that make the end of Baby Don't Dance so exhilarating. Mother Mother's rhythm section (bassist Jeremy Page and drummer Ali Siadat) has a lot of shift and shake to take care of, and they do it well.

Guldemond's pop tenor sounds playful in most situations, though Born in a Flash, about the creation of dead moments by photography, draws a more sober tone from him. He gets off a few diving falsetto "oohs" in Baby Don't Dance, à la Michael Jackson, and at other moments brings Freddie Mercury to mind, as much through his flauntable originality as through his sound and inflection.

The baby-doll vocals of Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin feel oddly perfect for the watchful supporting chores they're given, such as the questions and comments with which they catechize the male voice in The Stand. This song, the album's first single, is the most Janus-faced thing on the record: a jolly number about a kind of disgust that reaches to the end of space. Far in Time may be the most alienated, in its sketch of social entropies that make us all strangers. But it will still make 'em dance in the clubs.

Mother Mother plays the SXSW Festival in Austin, Tex., March 17- 19, Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria March 27-28, Edmonton Event Centre March 31 and MacEwan Hall Ballroom in Calgary April 2, with more Canadian dates at mothermothersite.com/live/.
- Globe And Mail


8/10

“It’s like paradise/spread out with a butter knife!” So outer space is described in a memorable line from “The Stand”, the first single from Vancouver rock band Mother Mother’s third LP. If the song has a function on Eureka besides providing infectious fun, it’s to demonstrate how the band’s familiar strengths and new experiments co-exist in their new work. On the one hand, the song’s sickly sweet group vocals and idiosyncratic lyrics are much like those that made 2008’s O My Heart so engaging; on the other, the naked hip-hop influence of this “silly rap style thing” betray the group’s willingness to strike out ambitiously in new and less-than-obvious directions.

The brightly-colored roaring lion on the new album’s cover, in addition to a title that almost demands to be shouted rather than spoken, hint at a rich vein of musical and lyrical positivity which the songs deliver in spades. O My Heart was always clever and frequently funny, but its songs more often than not dealt with surprisingly dark subjects, from graphic dismemberment and “barn sex gone terribly awry” to ghostly hauntings and serial murder.

On Eureka, the focus has changed. Now, Mother Mother are concerned with more down-to-Earth “Problems”, albeit “not just ones that are little”. These issues include trying to pin down one’s sense of self in a fast-moving world (“Chasing it Down”), having a girlfriend who is reluctant to let herself go (“Baby Don’t Dance”) and encouraging people to live less solitary lives (“Far in Time”). Only penultimate track “Oleander”, named after the common but highly toxic plant, struggles against the darkness in the way the songs on O My Heart usually did—“I’ll be obscene, I’ll be unclean” Molly Guldemond sings sweetly, “you’ll be the rest”.

That Mother Mother navigate this new territory as successfully as they do is a result of how strong a unit they remain. So consistent has Ryan Guldemond’s writing been so far that he looks to be on his way to becoming one of the finest pop scribes Canada has to offer, which on the evidence of recent years is an achievement indeed. His seamless vocal collaborations with sister Molly and recently added singer/keyboardist Jasmin Parkin frequently seem to be the bedrock on which the thrilling keys and guitars stand, as opposed to the other way around; Jeremy Page and Ali Siadat remain not only solid but inventive on bass and drums respectively.

Some fans may miss the country music-inspired elements from previous Mother Mother efforts, but the band have more than enough instrumental surprises to fill the gap. Like many bands, the family Guldemond and company have introduced more electronic sounds in recent years, and Parkin’s addition to the band naturally makes keys a larger contribution than previously. The keyboard sound on opener ‘“Chasing it Down” even sounds very much like mid-70s Emerson, Lake & Palmer, of all things. It is just the first of many exciting instrumental breakdowns Eureka has to offer, Just when newcomers might be lulled into thinking that rocking out is all the band can do, the sweet and sunny ode to escapism that is “Getaway” ups their expectations once more.

On “Aspiring Fires” the band impart “a little advice”, and tell the listener that “aspiring fires get put out if you don’t get a little wild”. The way they have developed so aggressively since their formation in January 2005 is ample evidence that Mother Mother’s aspiring fires are burning brightly. Their wildness, humor and irrepressible sense of fun are as contagious now as ever, and Eureka is the best vector they have created so far. A document of an enormously talented band capitalizing on past strengths and learning new ones at an alarming rate, this is a terrific populist rock record and sets a high standard for North American ventures in that field in 2011.
- PopMatters


Rating: 4 N's (out of 5)

Mother Mother found their way into radio rotation with Body Of Years, the biggest single from their last album, and though they’ve made no secret of their continued crossover ambitions, they also thankfully haven’t sanded the edges off their eccentric pop aesthetic.

Like their Vancouver peers the New Pornographers, Mother Mother aim straight for the subconscious, cramming in as many earworms as humanly possible. And yet their unusual compositions avoid sugar ?rot. Beyond their hook-writing, their biggest weapon has always been their three-pronged co-ed vocal interplay, and here they take it to complex Dirty Projectors-like heights.

The entendre-laden call-and-response in The Stand, the classic rock organ solo on Chasing It Down and the Buddy Holly-quoting chipped-and-screwed guitar riff in Problems make Eureka as catchy as it is quirky.

Top track: Problems
- NOW Magazine


Concert Review
Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC - May 9, 2009 (Headlining)

"If you don’t work at Zulu Records, listen to the Peak, or make regular pilgrimages to SXSW, you’ve probably never heard of Mother Mother, but you should and you will! Judging by last Saturday’s sold-out show at the Commodore, the Vancouver five-piece is only one Spin cover, iPod commercial, or David Bowie endorsement away from worldwide indie-rock domination—or, at the very least, a Juno sweep.

...

Conversely, the second Mother Mother hit the stage, you knew you were about to bank some future bragging rights. The highly melodic, Pixies-esque cabaret-pop band is only four years in the making, but the way frontman Ryan Guldemond and company commanded the stage, it was like they’d been playing there since Drew Burns ran the joint (when, in fact, they probably weren’t even born yet).

Sandwiched between keyboardist Jasmin Parkin and sister Molly Guldemond, Ryan eased into the set with some of Mother Mother’s more-subdued material before unleashing the group’s insanely catchy campus hits. And thanks to the band’s sophomore album, O My Heart, there were several of those to choose from, including the insanely catchy, head-bopping, heavy-hearted title track. Wisely, though, Mother Mother made sure the crowd-pleasers were spread throughout the set. A few songs in, we were treated to “Ghosting”, a tender ballad for the timid stalker in all of us. A little later, Molly took the lead for “Hayloft”, an intensely hyper dance song that got the club’s famed floor bouncing.

After that, Ryan was back in the lead. As the principal songwriter, the charismatic and talented bandleader could probably go it alone and be a respected rock star in his own right. But luckily for us, he’s a team player, because what makes Mother Mother’s sound so damn sweet are the girl-boy harmonies—and this is especially true live, when Ryan and his fellow songbirds not only get their Kim Deal and Black Francis grooves on, but also prove there’s a new kid on the art-rock block.

Maybe it was just me, but by the end of the show, I was thinking “Arcade Fire who?” Canada’s hottest postpunk indie act has officially arrived." - Sarah Rowland
- Georgia Straight


Album: O My Heart
Rating: 8/10

"Vancouver quintet Mother Mother arrive almost feeling like the finished article. That isn't to say they are some sort of super band, covering every base and providing every satisfaction which anyone could expect from an indie pop-rock outfit. Rather, it's difficult to think of an album as melodically and compositionally assured as O My Heart being the work of relative newcomers, this their second album after 2005's self-released Mother (later re-jigged and re-issued as Touch Up). In fact O My Heart is possibly the most effortlessly bright melodic indie-rock record since The New Pornographers' Twin Cinema, a band to whom Mother Mother bare more than a passing resemblance, but more of that later. There's a fish hook on the cover (with a freaky-eyed fish attached I should add) and there are hooks aplenty inside.

Case in point, look no further than the opening title-track. It's fairly typical of the album in the way its catchy melody glosses over a darker core. Although the brooding bassline, ominous synth washes and prickly guitar find Mother Mother at just about their moodiest, the rhythm in frontman Ryan Guldemond's vocals and the buoyancy provided by the honeyed female backing keeps this light and catchy. It's not that together Mother Mother are technically astounding vocal harmonisers. Even with three vocalists singing they don't cover a great range. In fact Ryan Guldemond often tends towards a Britt Daniel-style falsetto that puts him close in range to his female bandmates, resulting in a sort of androgynous glaze gleaming with inter-band chemistry, which is perhaps where they most resemble the New Pornographers, with whom they also have in common producer Howard Redekopp.

This is evident on album highlight 'Burning Pile'. A mid-paced stomp that descends into a string heavy spiral of a chorus which could potentially be cloyingly melodramatic, it's instead rendered in rather more arch tones by both the high-pitched harmonies and some neat musical manoeuvres; a mocking brass squeal here, a frenzied tinkling of ivories there, a high violin line leading into an unexpected key change, a sudden pause followed by a group shout. It's these sort of musical details that O My Heart bristles with which make it a continually rewarding listen despite the fairly standard guitar/bass/drums/synth line-up.

While Mother Mother could almost have relied on their excellent knack for melody, there also is enough textural variation to keep things interesting. 'Wisdom' begins with shuffling acoustic fingerpicking ghosted by warm brass, succeeded by jazzy piano chords and a simplistic stomping drumbeat. 'Body' begins with squalls of discordant violin eventually hitting upon an urgent see-sawing motion for the taut verses before easing into a beautiful drift as Guldemond bemoans "I've grown tired of this body, cumbersome and heavy body" on the album's first moment of out and out beauty. This is quickly followed by the gorgeous acoustic shuffle of 'Ghosting' with a chorus which showcases the vocalists' ability to diverge harmonically, Guldemond taking the lead while the girls deliver a backing of breathy "aaahs".

The album's anthemic highlight however is the Pornographers-esque power-pop of 'Arms Tonite', wherein a deceased lover swoons over passing away in his/her lover's arms. Some may find the conclusion that "It was nice" to be a little too twee for their taste. Indeed it's tempting to suggest that irresistible melodies and brilliant harmonies actual make O My Heart a bit too much of a sugar rush (see the somewhat nauseating single 'Hay Loft'), where the precise pop execution often disguises the sentiments of songs. In fact even the more ponderously paced 'Miles' sounds rather like 'Fill My Little World' by annoying pop extraordinaires The Feeling.

To a degree the record hits you at a gut level with its melodies and dynamics, the lyrics being something of a secondary consideration. However, Guldemond does exhibit a knack for skewed world play on several tracks, most notably 'Wrecking Ball' ("I made a wreck out of my hand, I put it through the wall, I made a fist and not a hand, Call me a reckless wrecking ball"), although the darker themes are somewhat obscured by the chirpy melody.

'O My Heart' is an album people will love just for making them feel good, without giving any great deal of thought as to why, which is exactly what good pop music should be capable of doing. Should you like, there's a darker heart beating underneath." - Neil Ashman - Drowned In Sound


"O My Heart is an impressive sophomore effort from Vancouver-based band Mother Mother. Three singers harmonizing and singing catchy, folk-infused indie pop might seems a bit gratuitous but they not only pull it off, they make it sound necessary... A truly genre-free band, Mother Mother are able to effortlessly go from honky-tonk ditty to Broadway musical anthem. Co-producer Howard Reddekopp (the New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara) has fathered another gem." - Caecilia Hubbard - Ur Chicago Magazine


"Burning Pile" (single) - "On this lullaby about an unfolding nightmare, the Canadian indie-pop quintet coo lovely boy-girl harmonies, masking their dire lyrics while slyly exulting in the cleansing blaze." - Spin Magazine


Album rating: 4/5 stars

"Pitching somewhere between the momentous swirl of MGMT and the musical adventurism of Arcade Fire, Mother Mother merge enormous keyboards, folksy guitars, horns and multi-layered vocals, all underpinned by a love of pop. Thus, Body features Ryan Guldemond's pleading vocals, crashing drums, celestial harmonies and self-loathing lyrics, all without losing its melodic flair, while Ghosting is heart-tugging loveliness. O My Heart itself shows they can rock when the mood takes them and, just when it seems as though they've touched every base, there's even a country guitar solo on Arms Tonite." - John Aizlewood


Q50 - The Essential Tracks To Download This Month...
"O My Heart" (single) - "Musically fearless, melodically inspired Canadians at their envelope-pushing best. Clattering drums, pounding rhythms and heavenly harmonies coalesce on this rocking gem." - Q Magazine


Discography

2007 - Touch Up (Last Gang Records)

2008 - O My Heart (Last Gang Records)

2011 - EUREKA (Last Gang Records)

2012 (Canada) / 2013 (US) - The Sticks (Last Gang Records)

Photos

Bio

After an exciting year of virtually non-stop globetrotting, Canadian art-pop quintet MOTHER MOTHER wasted no time getting back into recording mode to create what they are pleased to present to the world as their fourth studio effort: THE STICKS.

Recorded during the winter of 2012 in Mother Mother’s hometown of Vancouver and co-produced by the group’s own frontman/principle songwriter Ryan Guldemond and producer/engineer Ben Kaplan (Shakira, Mudvayne, Gallows), THE STICKS upholds Mother Mother’s tradition of tri-harmony vocal arrangements and dynamic instrumentation, while making for the group’s most eclectic and rich album to date. Lyrically, THE STICKS is also the group’s most cohesive and conceptual album thus far. When Ryan began writing for THE STICKS, one of the first songs to surface was "Bit By Bit", an explosive track with the opening words "Bit by bit, I'm going to get my bricks out in the sticks”. This became a catalyst for a myriad of new songs encompassing a similar theme: a call to arms against the modern, man-made world and a campaign for simplicity and self-contained lifestyles. "It seems the more complex and voluminous our gadgetry becomes, the less equipped we become as people, both in original thought and survival skills," says Ryan on the subject. "Despite my upbringing", continues the Quadra Island-raised, "I'm not your quintessential woodsman, but I do admire the simple and self-reliant approach to life, believing it to broaden the mind and soul. This was a healthy concept to be channeling when both writing and producing THE STICKS. The outcome, I believe, is the most pure and unadorned music the band has made".

THE STICKS starts off with opening track "Omen", that begins with a sweet and haunting piano motif followed by the innocent timbre of a five-year-old lad singing alongside Ryan, "something about the world today makes a boy feel a bit insane”. This brief and dichotomous lullaby sets up the album's ominous title track perfectly, like a calm before the storm. The album’s lead off single "Let’s Fall In Love", an ironic homage to tunesmith Cole Porter, is a moody yet epic song about the foolhardy games we play in the arena of romance: "Stupid does it, ugly do it… Let's fall in love". The Beatles-esque number “Latter Days” is a playful anthem for the hermitic and reclusive while "Little Pistol", a paranoidal suicide ballad, is one of the most dramatic and dynamic songs on the album; laden with lilting strings, bass clarinet and a stunning vocal arrangement. In a similar vein is "Waiting For The World To End", the album's penultimate track, told from an indifferent and impatient onlooker of the impending apocalypse. "To The Wild", a steady and mesmerizing song hauntingly carried by Molly Guldemond in her unique, airy voice, is the perfect closer to an intense and dynamic journey, distilling the record's theme in a few simple words: "Take off your cage, and go back to the wild".

Of course any Mother Mother album could not be fully realized without the accompaniment of a striking visual interpretation by Mother Mother’s resident artist Molly Guldemond. Veering away from the signature animal themes of its three predecessors, THE STICKS album artwork quite simply and effectively encapsulates the darker subject matter of the record’s sonic offerings. The cover features Mother Mother’s signature tri-scratch design taking the form of three yellow sticks against a white background maligned with a stenciling of the group moniker and album title with black spray paint, while the artwork inside the packaging depicts the orderly, complex and calculated modern world in a losing battle against nature, wild and anarchistic. "The songs lent themselves to artistic interpretation with a rich pool of imagery to draw from,” shares Molly, “there are a lot of literal translations of the lyrics in the artwork. I love strong simple graphics, and I like how they juxtapose with the theme of this record. It's the untamable chaos of nature crashing into the man-made structure of pop culture."

THE STICKS follows a whirlwind year of near constant touring in support of Mother Mother’s previous release, the critically acclaimed EUREKA. The album once again put Mother Mother at the top of Canada’s indie charts, but also planted the group quite prominently onto the mainstream radar. EUREKA produced three Top 20 alternative radio singles including the infectious smash hit “The Stand” which peaked at #3 at Canadian alternative (#5 at modern rock), and yielded a Juno-nominated music video. Already widely commended for their exceptional live show, it comes as no surprise that Mother Mother’s popularity on the heels of EUREKA further translated into sold out performances at 1000-2000 capacity venues in nearly every major market in Canada and rendered the group a summer music festival attraction with appearances at some of Canada’s most popular music festivals such as Ottawa Blues Fest, Osheag