For all the excellent and impressive releases which have captured the imagination this year those that are truly unique make up a small percentage. With its release on September 17th What’s Behind Us Is Not Important from UK psychedelic pop band Mammal Hum, will add to that limited number of mouth watering original sounding releases. The album is simply wonderful, a surprising and glorious piece of imagination full of melodic enterprise and passionate ingenuity. It is also one of the most mischievous albums to appear, its songs teasing and coaxing the heart into reaction with a wicked glint to its sonic eye.
From Kingston Upon Hull, the quartet of Nick Cammack, Simon Andrew, Sarah Mole, and Leon Welburn, create music which has multiple hearts and breaths to its songs, the flavouring and influences a widespread realm of inventiveness turned into distinct Mammal Hum conjurations. Formed in 2008 as a trio, the band expanded with the addition of drummer Andrew the following year as they realised the sound was missing something. Fully armed with the vision and musical prowess of four aural troubadours, the band began writing songs across the following three years, the best going to make what is one wonderful release in What’s Behind Us Is Not Important. Multi-instrumentalists and a group vocal contribution throughout, the band has given the album a textured and layered majestic beauty, its sound a sprawling mesmeric soundscape of eighties power pop, seventies punk, and sixties psychedelia with whispers of indie folk and garage rock. Quite simply the release is big, bold, and boisterously magnificent.
Released through Mollusc Records, the album grabs the ear and flings it into an irresistible feisty maelstrom of explosive imagination from the very start with Disco Drumbo. With a gentle hi-hat and guitar welcome the song soon erupts into a flurry of garage riffs and eager inciteful rhythms alongside group vocals. With a raw energy and offering an incessant tease, the song is brilliant, a combined mix of Kontrust, De Staat, and The Knack filtered through Eddie & The Hot Rods for music at its primal and ingenious best.
The following Man On Fire and Shallow Beep swiftly venture into different golden fields, the first a pulsating glassy melodic sun with spices of XTC to its rays. The harmonies drawn vocally and musically burn with their withering heat whilst mesmerising with sixties pop caresses. The second song starts with the magic of The Monkees to its wings, the beginning a close cousin to songs like Last Train To Clarksville. A more relaxed and tender song than the first pair it still has emotions and thoughts tumbling with total pleasure.
Already to be honest the album has drawn passionate submission before its mighty craft and sounds but as the likes of the bristling pop gem I Am A Car, the rhythmic thumping that is The Bingo Wing, and the eagerly agitated Buzz Buzz, Kill Kill!!! smother the senses with further wanton aural mischief one is in deeper raptures. Each song is unique to each other and to anything elsewhere, the first of this trio a discord drifting pop classic whilst the second sounds like a big boned hook loaded Marilyn Manson song translated through a psychedelic maelstrom of sixties progressive and folk pop warmth. The third of these is simply a blistering scuzz spiced mix of The Flaming Groovies, Magic Numbers, and Ok Go, and stunning.
Alongside the opener, easily the fiercest burning highlight on the album is Sunday Express, a song of sheer musical beauty. It starts with just voice and acoustic guitar and captivates from the first breath, note, and word. It slowly evolves as the band adds its perfect touches without rushing until it has grown in to maybe one of most infectious pieces of sunshine heard in a long time. Whilst in its company it is impossible to refrain from joining in and after its departure, it is locked inside the head for hours, days after.
A fifteen track bumper pleasure the album is a consistent ride of immense joy with further outstanding songs like Bad Anita Barden and Little Hands just opening the gates to wider adoration. What’s Behind Us Is Not Important is the truest statement but one suspects what came before was as impressive and what lies ahead will leave hearts bursting at the seams. Mammal Hum and their album are one of the best things to emerge this year, maybe the very best.
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