Mums. An unassuming name for a band. A main press shot that could almost be on the front of a Quaker magazine. Neat, unassuming jumpers including a lovely, pale yellow aran knit. Buttoned, white, starched collars. Neatly coiffed hair and sensible glasses. Slightly out of focus, intensely direct, staring eyes, an awkward smile, slightly too familiar bodily contact. The look of impending control and being subjected to their will. Hang on a second…
Something in all this doesn’t sit quite right.
On pressing play, the listener is confronted with precisely 49 seconds of disarmingly hesitant male vocal and gentle accompaniment before all thoughts of morning tea with vicar are banished, and all hell breaks loose. Accompanied, of course, by a Cheshire cat grin that doesn’t fade until the album’s finished and your eardrums are well and truly ruined.
Mums were formerly called Aeroplane Flies High, and then also Mothers before this present incarnation. With every change of name they have evolved and appear to have carried through the melody but added considerable weight, density and pure visceral force to their music. Riffs abound and the tone of those twin guitars is nothing short of gargantuan. Godzilla guitars which are more than capable of leveling buildings.
There are quiet bits on this record (I’m looking at you, first 50 seconds…), my advice would be not to turn the volume up too much to compensate. If you do, you might end up missing half your house when the tune kicks in.
And that’s a good point. They are tunes. They are tuneful. Despite being one of the heaviest albums I’ve heard this year, there is still melody there. Relentless, pummelling melody. Forcibly inserted into your brain by the sheer decibel count. There are certainly moments where melody dissolves into noise, for example, the opening bars of ‘Since My Brain Reset’ which is basically apocalyptic drumming combined with amp induced thunder. This does resolve into bouts of melody, followed by a gentle breather (possibly for that cup of tea…) before launching into an absolutely giant riff.
All of this album is genuinely excellent, but if I had to pick a couple of standout moments, one would be ‘Teamin’’ for it’s electrifying two part guitar melodies supplemented by following vocal lines that never fail to involuntarily raise the hairs on my arms in pleasure. The other would be the insanely catchy ‘Can of Worms’. I occasionally find myself with the chorus on endless repeat in my head, “leave a little can of worms for me!” occasionally managing to find it’s way past my lips to venture it’s way out into the world beyond.
This is most definitely not an album for quiet times. This is also definitely not an album to relax to. It practically requires movement, involvement and energy. It’s the kind of album that makes me want to pick a fight with my steering wheel while driving.
Unrelentingly intense and full of titanic riffs, Land Of Giants is decibel rich, ridiculously noisy, bass heavy without a bass player, crunchier than rocks on your morning cereal and absolutely doused in love from Mums.