Share MOTHER AND SON - Mother and Son (Impedance)
Naming your band after a tame Australian sitcom from the '90s is forgivable when you make music this good. It's also raw enough to make the ashes of that show's star, the late Ruth Cracknell, immolate a second time. In a world where swampy blues duos are as common as transit police with heavy-duty chips on their shoulders, this Wollongong pair sound like they've snuck onto a train to hell without tickets and stabbed the guard. Next stop: Bomaderry.

The "Mother and Son" trip lasts 46 minutes and would be a good deal briefer if not for the extended work-out of "Redcoats." Equal parts surf-tainted twang and moody bayou blues, it never strays far from the rawness of the garage. Recorded by guitarist-vocalist Brodie Jarman in a cheap studio in the Gong, it was mastered by Spooky Records head Loki Lockwood. Drummer Matman Teudt is a little low in the mix occasionally but we're shooting for mood here, not percussive-driven dynamics. There's plenty of light and shade in this record (mostly the latter.) Did we say Mother And Son boys love their reverb?

Jarman sounds like he's been listening to lots of Link Wray. Case-in-point is the opener, "Mosquito", a brooding chunk of instro goodness. The album ends with another wordless statement, the low-key but no less compelling "Closing Theme." Shades of Tom Verlaine's "Warm and Cool" in this one although the nerve endings sound much rawer. Like Mother And Son had attached electrodes to Tommy's ears and set the voltage to stun.In fact, there's a quartet of instrumentals. "Dengue Fever" is blustery enough to blow away any smoke while its name means the surf reference points in "Surfswing" won't come as any surprise.

A rockabilly riff lies just under the surface on "Dead Yellow Moon" and takes on far more menacing overtones as the song moves along. Brodie Jarman sings like a bloke who's not to be fucked with, especially if you're trying to swipe his Listerine laced with the shards of glass. Vocally, he gets out there on the cartoonish "Creature From The Swamp", where Cramps psychoses meet The Creature With The Atom Brain, lyrically-speaking.

Hank Williams would have been happy with a song like "Johnny Boy", even if he would have tripped over its occasional profanity. Its country musical accompaniment is way removed from harder work-outs like "Savage", but in this case that contrast isn't a bad thing.

The Black Keys comparison is an obvious one but you'd have to back-track a few albums to find those guys in similarly raw territory. No need to invoke the name of Jack Shite and his Stripes but no doubt others will. - The Barman


 

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