Talking about the band’s new self-titled album, Rotten Mind vocalist/guitarist Jakob Arvidsson stated that, “Our main idea was to work in a new way. We had no rush and the songs were written during a period that lasted for over a year.” Whether that intent and process was the reason or the spark, the Swedish quartet’s second album has emerged with new maturity and creative roundedness in sound and songwriting. Without losing the punk snarl of its predecessor, it is a proposition which has attention on board within a handful of seconds and firmly held until its final breath.
The album sees Rotten Mind uncage their distinctive fusion of punk, garage rock, and post punk, a sound which simultaneously feels familiar yet forcibly fresh. It is a mix which saw their debut full-length, I’m Alone Even With You, eagerly received and praised upon its release in 2015, its success followed by a torrent of live shows and two tours across Europe. Indeed the writing of its successor, taking over a year, simultaneously occurred as shows came thick and fast; songs relishing the experiences and inspiring sights found to push on in all aspects from its predecessor.
As evidenced from its opener alone, the album flings physically gripping hooks and imagination inciting melodies at will; all keener and more powerful than anything the band has conjured before while rhythmically the release is a cauldron of anthemic temptation. It is fuelled by the scuzzy almost suffocating Rotten Mind sound which marked the first album and the Uppsala hailing band’s potent live presence; Wish You Were Gone starting things off revealing all of those established attributes and plenty of new ones.
Dangling bait sonic initially, one soon entwined with a spicy melody, the first song soon bursts into a virulent stroll, the album’s first essential hook from Johan’s guitar wagging an irresistible finger as the rhythms of bassist Rune and drummer Victor collude in rolling infectious bait. The temptation only increases as the track boils, Jakob’s vocals just as magnetic as that first strand of piercing persuasion continues to persist while revealing psychobilly tendencies against the track’s intensifying punk punch.
There is a touch of Psychedelic Furs to song and release, nothing concrete just a scent which continues in the more irritable rock ‘n’ roll of Things I Can’t See. At times, as beats jab and riffs bite, the song feels like it is slamming its fists down on the table temperament wise but discontent aligned to a catchy restraint ensuring great volatility in the rousing incitement of sound and enterprise. The track is one of two singles laying down potent teasers for the album earlier this year, the second following straight after. Still Searching sonically shimmers before laying down a trail of rhythmic manna, the brooding voice of the bass courting rapacious beats. The track’s post punk persuasion makes swift slavery of ears and appetite, its bait only accentuated by the subsequent acidic hook and swinging groove loaded gait of the song. Kind like a mix of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Sex Gang Children, the track, as the album, simply seizes ears and appetite with relish second by second.
Dark Intentions bounds along with contagious energy and rhythmic dexterity next, its atmospheric and emotional shadows just as potent as its melodic suggestiveness before Got Me Numbered reveals a seventies inspired punkiness recalling the likes of Buzzcocks and The Vibrators. Both tracks have the body bouncing and spirit ignited while When You Come Back meanders along in a web of wiry melodies as rhythms grumble. Infectious vocals especially within the potent chorus only add to its lure, its tapestry of flirtatious strums and inventive persistence demanding inevitable and lustful listener involvement.
Through the creatively and emotionally agitated Real Lies and Out Of Use with its darker predatory hues, enjoyment is an eager torrent, the first captivating with robust rhythmic incitement and hard rock infused melodic jangle while the second prowls the senses with a union of primal and fiery contrasts. There is a surface similarity to many tracks within the album, but a deception greater attention defuses with both tracks showing potent diversity, with the second especially bold.
The rock ‘n’ roll clash and holler of Safer Place keeps things feverishly lively, its dark haunting textures surrounding a sonic blaze of invention before I Need To Know brings things to a richly satisfying close with its boisterous croon.
It is a fine end to an album which brings greater individuality to the Rotten Mind sound though there still feels like there is plenty of room for greater uniqueness to blossom which on the thick enjoyment of their album only adds further excitement for the future.
The Rotten Mind album is out now through Lövely Records @ https://lovelyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/rotten-mind-rotten-mind
Pete RingMaster 27/03/2017
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