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Mouthus - Loam

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Artist: Mouthus

Album: Loam

Label: Ecstatic Peace!

Review date: Jul. 19, 2005

“This was definitely not our finest hour,” said an agitated Nate Nelson following a late night set as the ostensible headliners on the Destroy All Music Festival bill. Preceding his overly critical concession, Nate and bandmate Brian Sullivan had churned up the rock chaff. What remained was scraggly humus all too ready to lay the foundation for a whole host of burgeoning genre. Acoustic guitar butted heads with electronic drums. Arms akimbo percussion scatter softened next to scorching electric guitar. Vocals peeked thorough the mess at odd intervals with wide-eyed abandon.

Did beer trick timing into taking a siesta? Was he kidding with that acoustic? Is all that electrical tape on Nate’s tom-toms truly necessary? Questions were asked in some form or another. Familiarity seemed to ail rather than aid: Mouthus mostly confused those that had an idea of what they sounded like via their self-titled squelcher on Psych-o-Path. The novitiate accumulated the rock-crit formulae: Now I know what it would sound like if I played my Jandek, Sightings and Ween records simultaneously. If only it were that easy.

Offering that a two man band sounds like six different people with three very different musical approaches does very little to fill in the blank. With Loam, Mouthus move towards the token-less, happy to not proffer a pastiche of influence – a concerted act that willingly takes up where few have left off: at the invisible footholds of the “unclassifiable.”

Nate’s drum “fills” sound more like iceboxes bouncing down stairs than rockist percussive filler. And Brian’s guitar betrays source elements with great ease: How is it that wood, steel, and electricity make up the sonic spirographs that comprise “Yota?” The following track “Sheep Dust” eviscerates its predecessor, smearing its guts all over its oily cheeks. Eventually, a few listens to Side A stretch the two into one, as if the tracks were racked and consequently pulled apart until they both littered the same fetid floor.

What remains is a prickly comedown, reaching aggravating heights in the manipulated ululations of “Throat.” Sullivan’s vocal takes on the disparate personae of Attila Csihar and Bobby Callendar slathering itself in pig blood even as it reclines in full lotus, thus providing salient example for an approach based on contrast. An easy trope to employ, but few acts do it as convincingly – and as confrontationally – as Mouthus.

By Stewart Voegtlin

Other Reviews of Mouthus

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Saw a Halo

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