Home > News & Reviews > Mothers

Mothers - Render Another Ugly Method (Album Review)

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Tonje Thilesen

After relocating to Philadelphia, experimental folk quartet Mothers enlisted War on Drugs and St. Vincent producer John Congleton to work on their second album, ‘Render Another Ugly Method’.

The result is a record of highly intellectual music that finds Kristine Leschper’s poetry floating above spiky, angular riffs and bewildering rhythms. It represents an impressively deep dive into the avant-garde, while containing a lot of the baggage associated with that particular artistic movement.

Take one of its singles, BEAUTY ROUTINE. We open with dissonant, watery guitar and spare, almost free-time drums that take us somewhere towards 'Kid A' or 'Amnesiac'-era Radiohead. The fundamental structure of the song is intriguing, with a tilting vocal that leads us into a dramatic lift-off two minutes in.

Here it switches time signature, adding texture and tone, and develops a distinctive, almost singalong melody. It’s at this point that one realises Leschper’s lyrics are completely incomprehensible; such is the mumbled nature of their delivery.

It’s a shame because the words are superb: “I've been practicing / Extreme forms of distraction / Brush my teeth / As an act of desperation / Show me a beauty routine / To erase me completely.” Leschper is clearly a writer of great wit and self awareness whose quality is not really revealed by the recordings.

Similarly, another great track undone by its delivery is BLAME KIT. It arrives with an uptempo rhythm and tonally complex guitars that once again recall the work of Jonny Greenwood et al. Halfway through we are subjected to another time signature change but here it completely breaks up a track that was developing nicely into a fascinating semi-extemporised odyssey. We then muddle our way through a waltzing melody that dwells and murmurs, and finally dies. It’s incredibly unsatisfying.

There is nothing wrong with deliberately obfuscating the messaging of the music you create. As an artist, you have every right to produce the work that feels most natural to you and which, in many cases, makes high demands of your audience. Furthermore, a lot of the best art requires work to be fully understood.

The challenge with ‘Render Another Ugly Method’ comes in the suitability of format for the output. Leschper’s poetry is one of the stronger elements, but ultimately that is what it is: poetry. Songs whirr and clunk but don’t always click. In their defence, it does not seem like Mothers' songs are necessarily designed to click, but the finest music in this space often does. They remain an intensely interesting band, nonetheless.

Mothers Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu February 21 2019 - BRIGHTON Hope & Ruin
Fri February 22 2019 - MANCHESTER Soup Kitchen
Sat February 23 2019 - GLASGOW Hug And Pint
Mon February 25 2019 - LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Tue February 26 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Hare And Hounds
Wed February 27 2019 - LONDON Oslo

Click here to compare & buy Mothers Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!

You May Also Like:

Never Bored: Ugly-Pop Band Skating Polly Discuss Life On Tour
Mon 10 Sep 2018
Wanderlust is a word usually associated with gap years and middle aged people who want a fancy way of saying they’re bored with the life they’ve made for themselves.
Grin Through The Dark Stuff: The Dirty Nil Return With The Mighty 'Master Volume'
Tue 11 Sep 2018
Towards the end of Pain of Infinity, one of the singles from the Dirty Nil’s new record ‘Master Volume’, Luke Bentham drawls “and another thing, baby...” before ripping a guitar solo. He gets back to the microphone in time to yell: “I never loved you and I hate your friends.” The frontman is inconsiderately handsome, and has been known to play a Gibson Les Paul mid-knee slide while chewing bubblegum and wearing a star-spangled denim cowboy shirt.
Light, Love and Lineage: Amy Helm Keeps Her Family's Fire Burning
Thu 27 Sep 2018
Photo: Ebru Yildiz To some people music is much more than just a form of entertainment or artistic expression. On her latest solo album ‘This Too Shall Light’ Amy Helm, daughter of the Band’s legendary singing drummer Levon Helm and singer-songwriter Libby Titus, has not only crafted a beautiful collection of gospel-infused Americana gems, but also a record with a rich sense of heritage dripping from every note.
New Faces, New Sound: How Federal Charm Moved Forwards on 'Passenger'
Tue 18 Sep 2018
Imagine being in a rock ‘n’ roll band with two albums under your belt and a fistful of big-name support slots in the bank. Imagine you spent the best part of a decade building a fanbase. Then, just as you’re preparing to make that all important third album, imagine waving goodbye to half the group. Do you wallow in self-pity? Wave the white flag and call it quits? Or recruit two new members and bounce back with your strongest album to date.
Poetry Versus Precision: Estrons Talk 'You Say I'm Too Much, I Say You're Not Enough'
Fri 05 Oct 2018
Photo: Imogen Forte When Estrons vocalist Tali Källström played a test pressing of the band’s debut album to a friend, their response was easy to remember. “It sounds like you’ve dipped in and had sex with every genre,” they said. Well, they’re not wrong.
Making A Big Noise Is Fun: Inside The Weird And Wonderful World Of HMS Morris
Wed 26 Sep 2018
Let’s start with some advice from Heledd Watkins and Sam Roberts, who are the backbone of the Welsh-speaking, genre-melding psych-pop band HMS Morris: “Expect the unexpected.”
Stop Standing Still: The Goon Sax Evolve On The Rich, Ambitious 'We're Not Talking'
Mon 17 Sep 2018
Photo: Ben O'Connor Louis Forster keeps forgetting something. He’s at his band’s rehearsal room picking up some gear. They’re going on tour; landing in London and moving on to an opening night in Glasgow after the long trip over from Brisbane. They’re pretty much good to go.
Attan - End Of (Album Review)
Wed 19 Sep 2018
Attan released their debut EP, ‘From Nothing’, three years ago. There wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare, just positive rumblings and a few ‘ones to watch’ recommendations. Anyone who saw the band during that period got it, though. The Norwegians’ sludge-tinged, blackened hardcore was radicalised in the live arena as vocalist Remi Semshaug Langseth went walkabout during the cathartic seven minute epic Edward. He screamed in faces, slapped his heart onto his sleeve and then carved it open for all to see.
< Prev   Next >