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The Mumzees – Teal EP (The Mumzees)

The Mumzees - Teal EP
10 January 2017

My best friend Frank likes to affectionately call his lovely 95-year-old mother “Mumsie,” so it’s always funny to me whenever I hear this scruffy and strident college-aged Nashville band’s moniker (I’m guessing they don’t get many nonagenarians at their shows, however). Despite the group’s fledgling years, they’ve already got an LP under their belts, 2015’s Heavy Desert, which followed their 2014 first EP, GUTZ. On this new four-songer, 20-year-old singer/guitarist Madison Orr, 22-year-old bassist Sam Talley, and 18-year-old drummer Sam McKenley are joined by a second guitarist, Kiley Wells. On Heavy, I heard hints of “Sonics/Shakers-inspired garage rock, Shellac-styled industrial/post-punk, and Stiff Little Fingers Inflammable Material-era punk” in their sound, all of which was subsequently slathered under a syrupy sheet of sludge. That’s still an accurate assessment, as Teal contains many of the same characteristics as the full-length.

Right from the get-go, the opening title track bombards you with McKenley’s brutal, bony drum fills, Talley’s busy, bending basslines, and the slashing, serrated guitar riffs of Orr and Wells. It’s then topped off with Orr’s shrill, sputtered vocals and veiled, vexing lyrics, which still sound like they’re being delivered from a dank sewage drain. And on the languorous, lurching “KYZR Sore,” Orr’s grating, guttural shriek simulates a bellicose, booze-ridden bum staggering home after a bender. But prompted by Wells’s additional guitar, “No Order” and “Bobby’s Got a Girlfriend” have a more propulsive drive, with newfound nuance and melodic depth. Both beckon burly behemoths Swervedriver, Cheatahs, and Dinosaur Jr., blended with the rougher indie rock of Sebadoh, Pavement, and The Pixies. On “Bobby’s,” they dispense with much of their trademark thick distortion for a more straightforward and sweeping attack, enhanced by squealing, swirling, and shoegaze-accented guitar effects. Tales of a misspent youth? No way – these millennials are too busy making mighty and mashing music. (