by Tiana Feng
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Like a lot of bands this year, Mother Mother embraced the future and allowed their earwormy pop tunes to embrace electronics. Very Good Bad Thing shows that the band can welcome change while remaining very much themselves.
Mother Mother fans would be happy to know that they maintained the juxtaposition of a secret darkness within brighter melodies that the band has always encompassed. This time around, the band goes bigger in production, hiring Gavin Brown (who’s worked with The Tragically Hip). The band has always been an acquired taste for some, and personally I was a huge fan of Eureka and The Sticks. This album is a little bit more aggressive, radio friendly and headed for rock stadiums.
We get that from the opener “Get Out the Way” and “Shout If You Know”. They also decide to do a complete 180 with electro tunes “Modern Love”. It’s weird because Ryan’s voice is almost unrecognizable. The following “Reaper Man” brings us back to the band’s lyrically mysterious roots. “How did I get so indiscreet, how did I get so freaky?”
Interestingly, in a very produced album, “Have It Out” shows a raw side to the frontman’s voice. You can hear cracks, and it sounds imperfect, but it lends to the hurt and anger felt in the intense tune. However, soon after we are taken to the album’s beat heavy title track. “We are putting a hole in our hearts with a poison arrow.” The band are very fantastic songwriters but these sort of lyrical gems are a little bit lost in the production. Gone are the days where every word sung was crystal clear. “Alone and Sublime” is aptly named as it is a beautiful acoustic tune and a really strange way to end this album. In the past, I found their albums cohesive, but Very Good Bad Thing is all over the place. It has some very good songs that are probably just in a bad order.