Drunk Mums Leather

Drunk Mums

Promise, Potential, Substance

By Jay Armstrong

 

Albeit ideal, with how syrupy their self-titled album was in 2012 there seemed only two directions Drunk Mums could go; off to the forgotten edges of rock n roll existence, rubbing shoulders with the likes of bands such as Milk N Cookies who got it right once and through fate or bad luck rode into the sunset never to see time chip away at the facade as is with the precedent statically seen even on the fringes of the status quo, or they would manage to hang around for a few albums continuing to water down the elements of our initial attraction until the generically contrived impression becomes the only emotion to connect with their noise. In the back of our mind an anomaly of hope remains though for bands, instead of sticking to the format of getting softer with the loss of inspiration, will instead take the derivative base they began with and allow the spirit of denim and snot to possess them all the moresnapping out of our peripheral into clear focus through sheer will and respect for talent. The latter is so rare, nearly hypothetically really, we forget the option even exists, certainly we never expect it.

Those Dirty Harry days are all but over it seems, days when a band found the way to sound bigger without coming across forced, overproduced, and uninspired, after all the worst thing one can do is sound as though they are actually trying and nothing says trying like the sound of change, to take on substance beyond their initial offering would spell almost certain death for most bands, evolution as a concept for bands to consciously aspire towards makes us cringe. I, just as you, wish we had not repeatedly been let down. I, just as you, fear the day is coming where we become the jaded vilifying cynics of pretentious arrogance we despised and swore all our lives not to become. If only it were possible to ignore instead of observe in disgust the half-ass commitment, the utter lack of respect for the holy purity which has saved and redeemed the souls of millions, by bands who should be laying down their lives to protect this unique and accessible corner of art which propped them above the rest of existence to begin with. The onset of such nose up disenfranchisement seems inevitable despite a lifetime of best intentions. Some bands evolve, some bands change, it seems it is the bands who do this consciously with an end result in mind who have destroyed the experience for the whole. The type of person who believes they are capable of doing bigger once managing to slyly shove their foot through the door of social acceptance is a repulsive type, we must remember they are parasites on that which is holy and not a reflection of it. We must be ever on the watch for bands willing to pass through the eye of the needle, those whose actions align their existence in commitment to the pure, change is inevitable, get better, get worse, metamorphosis is unavoidable, and as we witness and perpetuate the discarding of bands by the thousands, we must remain hopeful, the third option does exist, Drunk Mums seem to be proof.

 

 

And let us not wax too poetically without acknowledging the truth; surely to praise loud wild music as anything other than an arbitrary eruption of childish urges from grown men still seeing the world through arrogant thirteen year old eyes is a romantic fallacy yet the same could be said for all of the failed relationships having once owned our souls. We can pontificate about being lone wolves facing time and age with steadfast square shoulders while curbing it outside the Gas-n-Sip on another Friday night but find some optimistic eyed babe at two AM bumming a light and laughing at one of your jokes and tell me all that,  “I am Lobo Marunga. I hunt alone. I need no one.” noise doesn’t seem plastic. The same is universal with love, music as a facet within it is not an exception. Thus when Drunk Mums give us four songs as ideal as on Leather it is hard not to curse god and existence for making us subscribe once more to the belief in integral purity being not only hypothetically attainable but existing tangibly in the here and now.

 

 

So if the experience of love is universal, not in the sense of the the individual inflection but instead of being immersed in the different channels in which our emotions grow out of, could the metamorphosis we see from Drunk Mums as promise and potential into their own substantial voice too powerful to disregard be representative of such possibilities in our personal relationships as well. I like to think so, subscribing to the belief that what is present even in the smallest is reflective of the whole. It seems Karen O was spot on when she sang “all is love.” Unfortunately, sometimes love is a disappointing realization the underlying ambitions of bands weren’t for the sake of the great furthering of an idea more important than the hands shaping it but instead for repulsive capitalistic ambitions… sometimes but not always. These homies out of Melbourne are showing us firsthand how not to allow our lives to be clubbed into dank submission, reminding us with gruff Bukowski assuredness of there being light somewhere to beat the darkness, demonstrating through actions how to beat death in life and whatnot; another reminder of that opening paragraph of Blue Like Jazz where Miller speaks of never having grasped jazz music until “outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” I’m not blindly saying these guys are on par with say G.I.S.M., obviously though they are on the path, if they continue to find their voice rather than mimicking others as has been each step made out of their derivative beginning, if they continue to detach themselves from the atypical selling-out-vs-buying-in argument we have witnessed even our greatest heroes mired by, then Drunk Mums are certainly worth not only their place as an outstanding voice within the present as well as a cornerstone existence worthy of future nods from lesser bands ad infinitum.

 

 

In four songs Leather gives us what I would hope to find in four separate EP’s in a month of checking my inbox. The most disappointing modus operandi’s within rock n roll is how much bands refuse to prove themselves as anything but one-sided. Take a couple solid local bands for example, Spray Paint and Sailor Poon who are ideal to have headlining local shows while falling flat within the weight of criticism simply from having cornered themselves out of the strange need to prove they are good at one sound, one group of changes, one sort of buildup to the chorus, etc, hell The Minutemen are on my ten favorites list and they certainly weren’t any better at it. No one is comparing Boon/Watts to Jagger, Parsons, or Swan. Not fitting within such comparisons seemingly is one of the defining tangents to the line in the sand between timeless and the cliff noted asterisks; certainly Milk N Cookies rule but much of the love comes from greatness within obscurity, if they were remembered universally no one in their right mind would argue them over the Ramones but the comparison is comfortably acceptable while they remain in the shadows of history. Side A on Leather opens with “No Staunch,” clearly stating their ability to revisit the swing your mug nature of previous songs such as “Nanganator” yet proving this go round they will not be defined within the restrictive prepubescent Achilles heal others such as FIDLAR find themselves discarded by in history out of a refusal to step away from the dick jokes long enough to prove themselves valid at their craft. Sure “No Staunch” is an anthem they proved themselves capable of accomplishing long before now, this time though we hear them wailing into eternity with self-confidence the grit of maturity. Essentially each offering on the album is a magnifying glass over previous songs of theirs in similar fashion; showing us what has been learned about themselves, pushing the perceived self-imposed boundaries completely out of the way, most notably we see this on the strongest song from the 45 “Blitz,” which is a goddamn roaring declaration of skillobviously the prior toughness we have heard from them was been grossly understated. “I’ve Got A Motorbike So Fuck You“goes further at showing the depths found when one sticks their queer shoulder to the wheel taking the whole quasi-psych wash they continuously have toyed with (ie “Eventual Ghosts“) without sounding as yet another band ripping the Brian Jonestown Massacre off who are desperately pretending not to be ripping the Brian Jonestown Massacre off. Closing the record with “Viper,” the straight forwardest rock n roll song they have slapped together to date is a clear statement of comfort within their inspirations and how they have learned to embody them using their own unique voicethe same should be said for the album overall.

 

 

It is almost as though cursng Drunk Mums for not letting us down might be the more appropriate response to this album, shaking our fists at the universe for our inability at giving up on the possibility of something truly pure taking form around us. Seriously, how much better would it be on a Monday night to stand in front of The Grand and have some five foot one fox bum a smoke without the spark of potential lighting off in the back of our minds? We may not be so foolish as to go on believing in some mythical idea of “the one,” time has jaded us beyond that it seems, albums such as Leather come along and we can’t fully disregard the concept either. It’s a catch-22 of the worst kind, wanting to give up and being reminded so clearly why with a clear conscious we cannot.