It never ceases to amaze quite how many different sounding bands can come out of the same distinct roots of post-punk (Talking Heads, Gang of Four, Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Fall, etc.). You’d think the formula must be worn out (and yes, sometimes the spectrum is used with minimal effect), but Leeds quartet Mush prove on their debut album that, at least for now, the machine still works.
Of course, this isn’t to discredit the band and the plethora of other current post-punk bands that have floated across our radio waves over the last few years. Each of them that, like Mush, do it well, add in a little indescribable something of themselves that keeps it all fresh and raw.
Drawn in by aggressively jaggy guitar lines scattered over a propellant rhythm section, ‘Revising My Fee’ sets itself up as a charmingly churned-out tune that will come to stand as a typical track from this Leeds group. They skip any potentially dulling pleasantries by darting straight into their all-encompassing but simultaneously concise record. Next comes the brutal brick-wall-beat and odd and flavorous vocal tones on ‘Eat the Etiquette’, forcing itself to stand out as a pop-song that has been beaten and battered into a grisly pulp of memorable melody.
Mush appear powerfully millennial, despite their sound being wrung out of the ’80s cloth. Lyrically, the tooth-sharp spitting presents constant issues that could only come from a group recording at this point in time: “I take my coffee with existential dread”. Some bands just don’t accept temporal confinements.
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