Mourn made a Pretty Damn Good debut record quite recently: their self-titled hit the proverbial shelves in 2014, and proved a confident and knowing garage rock record, one that could wink back at the classics while crafting new enough hooks. Now they're back, and apparently amused, with 'Ha, Ha, He.'; one assumes the hooks while be as short 'n' sweet as a quick lil' laugh.
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The jury's out on whether this band have ever found anything funny, but ‘Ha Ha He’ perfectly sums up my movements on the website known as Twitter dot com: I am amused, but blank of all emotion. Garage rockers Mourn are kinda the same, actually. Their sound is bouncy, even jolly, but always halted by angular guitars and the kind of definitive icy chords that made Women’s debut so brilliant. Their self-titled proved them good enough as is, but ‘Ha, Ha, He.’ is a real help in affirming them as a Good indie band: it shows that within the confines of their fairly limited genre, they can be very dynamic indeed.
I have opened my rawk checklist to the appropriate page and can tick off satisfying chord sequences, rousing intros and surprising vocal harmonies walking through narrow corridors. I didn’t mention choruses, but I’m sure they exist, somewhere? It’s weird, but I find myself kinda bemused as to what I latch onto in any particular one of Mourn’s songs: it’s not the melodies that drive me back, but a particular striking chord, as on “Brother, Brother”, or a refusing riff that serves to block up a song rather than make it clear: “Howard” has the kind of brick wall sequence that made so many of Interpol’s early songs hard to climb out of, while also exchanging a no frills vocal duet that the band growl out of existence.
Mourn’s tone is generally quite jagged, and their song structures can be kinda forgetful: “Gertrudis, Get Through This!” starts on a pretty riff before blasting it out of the way, introducing a tumbling follow-on guitar line and then worming out of it once more. Instead of finding a chorus to rest on, the song meanders and then mumbles its way back around. This avenue keeps Mourn much more interesting a proposition than you might reckon: their music is rarely propulsive (save for tracks like “I Am A Chicken”), but sometimes you've gotta mumble your way to the point.
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