NOTHIN' - Mother & Father (Z-Man Records)
Grunge revival? Who woulda thought. It's the only strain of music that hasn't been thoroughly exhumed and held up to the light in recent years, and when it's done as well as this you have to ask why.
Yes, I bought into some of the grunge bands ("Bleach" Nirvana, "Superfuzzbigmuff" Mudhoney) back in the day. If you're over 30, you probably did too. Grunge turned into something nondescript and a platform from which to foist Pearl Jam onto an unsuspecting world - and we know how badly they suck. Grunge became an excuse for second-rate metal posing as punk - maybe it was all along - but its good parts (energy + melody) were totally devalued when the major labels decided they wanted to own it. Talk about shitting in your own nest.
The corporatised version of grunge was a big fat vacuum machine that sucked up money and left the live touring circuit in places like Europe permanently altered - and not for the better.
But that's all Green River water under the bridge. Mother & Father also trade in big fat riffs and abrasive melodies that cut to the quick. They're from Melbourne, having relocated from the rural Victorian town of Bendigo, and that only matters because a lot of great bands from that part of the world have followed a similar migratory pattern.
Ten tunes, most of them very rocking. Opening cut "Imposter" kicks off "Nothin'" in brutally effective style with Greg Kerslake's impressive vocal wail offset against a withering wall of sound. Kerslake's no dummy on guitar either with simple fuzz riffs and scuzzy leads spiralling off in apposite directions.
"Bone And Brain" surges into a descending melody line that's good enough to frame and hang on your wall. The riff and melody driving "Left Alone" would be sufficient to carry most albums, but it's the mid-tempo "Nothing" that makes the biggest (and fuzziest) statement.
"Keeping, Sleeping" is the optimistic light touch that burns and swells, just to show Mother And Father can drift on the tide.
Is this grunge? The tagl shouldn't matter that much in these fragmented times although I can imagine a few people hanging these guys out to dry because of it. There's a lot of Kurt audible in the songwriting which shouldn't be regarded as a bad thing. The guy did have an ear for a hook - even if his garage mural painting skills left a lot to be desired.
Besides power and melody the other quality Mother And Father have is economy. None of these songs wear out their welcome with most clocking in at under three minutes. There's a lesson some of their forebears never did work out.
It'sa fine way to launch a new label and I'm liking it a lot. - The Barman
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