The Young Mothers – Morose

Posted: 3 August 2018 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , ,

Super Secret Records – 25th May 208

Given the album’s title, I wasn’t exactly expecting jaunty jubilance. But then, having heard a million albums since reviewing their 2014 debut, A Mothers Work is Never Done, I wasn’t expecting a wild hybrid of-hop hop and jazz at first.

They’ve upped the edge and intensity for this second outing, going all out with a strong start. An insistent groove, dominated by a relentless ‘vintage’ hip-hop beat, hammered out hard provides the backdrop to the jazz-rap crossover of the eight-minute ‘Attica Black’. Breaking from some nagging guitar and angry vocals, it breaks into a cacophony of discord, with brass honking like braying elephants tooting all over a collapsing barrage of percussion.

‘Black Tar Caviar’ mellows the pace and goes big on the sax and the sleaze in the opening bars. That sax… sax not in the smooth jazz sense, not in the café PA sense, but big bold, raucous, gutsy sax – before a thick, tearing bass grinds in, and… woah. Blackened hop-hop-jazz-metal? It’s like fur songs playing at once. It’s roaring and savage and intense and utterly bewildering. I don’t even know if it’ any good: it’s simply too much to take in. But if a derangement of the senses of the desires effect, then they’ve undeniably achieved it in around two and a half explosive minutes.

The weirdness abates for the start of ‘Bodiless Arms’, but only slightly, as a braying sax honks rudely to disrupt a delicately picked guitar piece that evokes pastoral tranquillity.

And yes, it’s ultimately all about the sax… it’s wild. The two short ‘untitled’ composition are bursts of noise without overt structure or form, but while the drums are all over and there’s

Ironically, ‘Jazz Oppression’ the least overtly jazz tune on the album, manifesting more as a full-throttle hip-hop metal crossover, a driving, two-and-a-half minute bass-driven barrage with throaty hollers and a sinewy lead guitar that’s swiftly buried amidst the chaos and screaming feedback. It’s swiftly followed by the equally attacking (and brief) title track: ‘Fuck all that weak shit’ is the half-buried refrain on ‘Morose’, which barrels headlong from a throbbing, insistent groove into screaming metal noise amidst a cascade of off-key xylophone.

If there’s a formula to be found, it’s a loose one based around shifting perceptions and expectations, the way in which a song can begin as one thing and end completely as another. The moments of accessibility lull and woo the listener, before s sharp left-turn and a sudden swell of noise annihilates all semblance of order and location.

But then, the crooning closer disrupts much of that: despite its extraneous additions, a swirling vortex of feedback in the background, and its awkward industrial trip-hop leanings, it’s a remarkably pleasant and smooth piece of soul-soaked hip-hop. To remark that it’s incongruous feels pretty redundant: everything about this album seems incongruous with the rest of the album. And somehow, it works.

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Young Mothers - Morose

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