Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
If art rockers Mother Mother were graded on ambition alone, the Canadian outfit featuring complex song structures, intricate three part (two gals, one dude) harmonies, angular melodic shifts and some of the most satirical lyrics this side of Frank Zappa would get five stars. But ambition and talent, while important, aren’t everything, making this quality release—the group’s fourth– more interesting than it is enjoyable. Frontman/songwriter Ryan Guldemond’s sardonic, wordy concepts are often too clever by half, and his pop/rock doesn’t sport enough hooks to entice the listener back for another spin. Still, those who don’t mind reading along with these quirky songs will find lots to like in his nerdy opinions on topics ranging from psychotic killers (“Little Pistol”) to depression (“Dread in My Heart”) all while he is “Waiting for the World to End.” He gets points for meticulously crafting these tracks, adding sax and vocal tricks that keep them fresh when you wish he would stop singing for a while and let the music take over. It’s an occasionally rewarding but somewhat tiresome indie rock listen that would have benefitted from editorial trimming. Pop shouldn’t be this hard to enjoy.