Bored of the usual structures and routines in indie rock music, the safe and rule following creativity which leaves one satisfied for short bursts only? Then time to check out The Mourning Sickness and their latest album Gets In A Ruction. Now this is a release which will have you at times scratching your head in disbelief and struggling to understand what is going on but it is also an album which is a refreshing piece of fun. It is hard to know why it works so well and it will without doubt spark individual and distinct reactions from person to person, but it has to be said any time in the company of Gets In A Ruction is only enjoyable.
The Mourning Sickness is a progressive/rock/noise trio from Denver, Colorado. Formed by guitarist Matthew Maher, the band has been conjuring unique sounds for the past seventeen years or so. Completed by bassist Jeff Dunn and drummer/percussionist Joe Wilkinson, the band has gigged extensively yet been ignored by local media and the underground scene according to their bio. One can only wonder if their unconventional intent and sound scares most off but it is surprising they have remained relatively invisible over their years listening to their album. Gets in a Ruction is the fourth full length release from the band and whether it will raise their profile any higher with its compulsive sounds one doubts though it deserves to; if they have struggled until now it is hard to imagine much changing, not that the band truly cares one suspects. Released on Enjoy Your Symptom Records, the album offers a mix which can only be described as Wall of Voodoo and Pere Ubu spliced into the genes of an offspring between Spizzenergi and Cardiacs. It is a sound which draws you in and then mystifies and excites equally.
The release opens with Snow Wimps, a track with quite irresistible grooves and unpredictable juggling rhythms. Unpredictable is the best word to describe the album, no prediction of what is to come has a chance of being accurate such the warped imagination going on. From its quirky swagger the track unleashes a brief punk driven rampage to be swiftly followed by a sultry progressive weave of elegance, the strolling jazzy shadowed bass sounds a constant core through all the aspects the song offers. Vocally it is a little challenging but with a slight Stan Ridgway lilt soon that part of the track proves itself too.
The following Beelzebufo with its ska tease and mischievous tale of prehistoric devil toads took a while to win its case against personal preference but ultimately did emerge as a decent enough pleasure though never to the heights of other tracks like its successor Octopus. The song can be best described as ska/blues punk though no track fits a defined tag even remotely to be honest. One of a few which borders irretrievable chaos, it leaves a massive grin on face and emotions alongside the ever present quizzical look.
Richard, a song about men with the name ‘Dick’, and impressive instrumental Iron keep the fires of sheer pleasure burning bright, the first a simple melodic canter complete with Cajun discord and the second a neatly crafted and contagious piece of metallic enterprise. By this point the album has proven to be nicely varied and quite unassuming considering the directness of the maniacal imagination going on.
As songs like Distaste For Food And An urge To Vomit, a song about teenage eating disorders, the discord breathing Only Good News Show, and Bubby Peak taunt and disorientate thoughts with their devilish invention and lyrical irreverence, the last of the trio about outrageously large male members, it is impossible not to be engrossed in what the band offer. That enthrallment comes with strong enjoyment too to make the whole experience great fun hand in hand with a slight disbelief to how it works.
Musically the trio are certainly skilled and accomplished which adds to the effect and strength of the release, their ideas and creativity maybe bent out of recognition for most but its technical delivery rivals any one. Ending on the excellent final scarred expulsion that is A Study In Tyranny, a song which would fit perfectly in a modern version of the album Do A Runner from Spizzenergi, The Mourning Sickness has produced a release which given time makes for one thrilling and unique experience. Gets In A Ruction is not going to work for everyone but certainly deserves a chance to plead its case, anyway what have you got to lose….. apart from your sanity.
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