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Mindless Self Indulgence - 'How I Learned...' (Album Review)

Monday, 13 May 2013 Written by Heather McDaid

"You're only young once, but you can be immature forever," slurs Jimmy Urine on their new album. Perhaps the lyric that could best sum up Mindless Self Indulgence's entire career and success to date, and it's for that reason that their fans love them. With their fifth album funded by these very people via Kickstarter, 'How I Learned To Stop Giving A Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence' had more weight on its shoulders to be good, and - at the very least - proves to be quintessentially MSI. 

From the vulgar Mary Poppins storytelling provided by the vivacious Chantal Claret ('Ass Backwards') to ice cream being the cure for everything from being a failure to nobody loving you ('Ala Mode'), there's a lot thrown at you on a first listen. Fifteen listens in, however, and you're imitating that odd Poppins accent when you join in on the tale of four motherfuckers with some panache, and lowering your voice to previously unknown levels to say 'I want sprinkles on that shit'.  

So, the Mindless Self Indulgence box for warped content is immediately ticked. But, musically, this is new territory. This record sees Mindless successfully extend the sound of 2008's 'IF' - more clean cut and utilising effects - but the production is vastly improved; 'If' really pales in comparison when you look at the actual production side of the record. And with this new success in modernising that Mindless sound, they've thrown the actual song content back to their earlier eras. Pluck your favourite moments from each Mindless era and you'll likely find it rammed into 'How I Learned...' 

Take, for example, Jimmy's ferocious rapping styles on 'Kill You In A Hip Hop Rage', where he raises his middle fingers to today's poor examples of rappers, hailing Tupac in the process. 'Remember back in the day when rap wasn't horrible, and lyrics were poetry and not fucking awful?' Cutting to the chase, right there. 

Though opener 'Witness' is an instant crowd pleaser and has some really fine drum work from Kitty, and 'It Gets Worse' - being the first to hit the internet - screamed potential to steal the album, the real stand out proves to be 'Hey Tomorrow Fuck You And Your Friend Yesterday'. Fast and furious in its electronic verse, catchy and light in the chorus, a 50 Shades of Grey reference - this is one that simply needs to be played in a live setting. 

The bias of being a longstanding Mindless Self Indulgence fan does come forth here, because it's easy to see why the band can divide crowds outside of the fandom. 'How I Learned To Stop Giving A Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence' might sway new fans with its polished sound, but if you remain affronted by their lyrical content then this is, obviously, going to be of no use - unless you want a drinking game based on sex references. Looking at it in terms of the band itself, this record is what 'IF' could have and really should have been, and it's long overdue. Good fun, fantastic production and quintessentially crazy with that Mindless quirk.

 'How I Learned To Stop Giving A Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence' is out on Monday 17th June.


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