Mother Mother are known especially for their exhilarating vocal harmonies, melodic hooks, and thought-provoking lyrics, and with their sixth studio album, No Culture, they deliver on all this while cranking it up a notch.

As on previous albums, each song is loosely connected thematically, with this one touching specifically on love, and the complications that arise when searching for it. But this record seems more forceful than in years past, as though the group is fed up with searching and wants results.

The lead track, Free, perfectly encapsulates this sensibility, with a heavy pounding drum, a rousing guitar riff, and heavy lyrics to match, it grabs the listener and does not let go.

The record feels more polished and refined than previous albums, while the vocal abilities are on full display. This is especially evident on Love Stuck, in which lead singer Ryan Guldemond is complemented perfectly by the vocal power of sister Molly Guldemond, and keyboardist Jasmin Parkin, whose voices always add a haunting quality to the music – which is meant in the best possible way.

That is not to say that it feels overly-produced because the album is plenty gritty thanks to darkly-tinged numbers such as The Drugs and The Mouth of the Devil, the latter a particular standout. The beat thumps and the vocals are arranged beautifully so that the effect is almost transcendent. Not to mention the insidiously catchy hook.

The album winds down from the pounding drums with a lovely final track, Family, an ode to the infuriating paradox that comes from being simultaneously ashamed and unabashedly proud of one’s family. The song is reminiscent of the group’s earlier work, with a prominent acoustic guitar accompanied by the band’s trademark vocal harmonies.

This is an album with intricately layered songs that invites repeat listens, one which straddles the line between darkness and light to perfection. The lyrics are sharp and unapologetic. The beats are powerful. This is an album with something to say and rewards those who like to think while they rock.

Best Tracks: Free, Baby Boy, Mouth of the Devil, Family


Be sure to stay tuned for more album reviews throughout the month.