Article by KevW
Some bands seem to cling rigidly to specific genres, even to specific song structures, but Mothers, while not necessarily be overly diverse, are not easy to categorise, and their songs don't follow any particular set of rules. The word "meander" can often imply a lack of direction, yet the Athens, Georgia group's music meanders along with all the space and time in the world, but is certainly not devoid of direction. You don't have to be some kind of rebellious anarchist to cock a snook to the rule book.
You could perhaps tag Mothers as some kind of new/alt/quirky folk group, especially on tracks like 'Too Small For Eyes' which utilises sparse mandolin with occasional piano chords, strings and beautifully delicate arrangements, but it's followed by the excellent 'It Hurts Until It Doesn't' where electric guitars and full drums steer them closer to alt-rock, and this is a pattern that runs throughout debut album 'When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired'. There's nothing disjointed about these tracks though, they fit together wonderfully, with the aching vocals of Kristine Leschper binding everything together. Often, the music gradually swings from one idea to the next in the course of a single song, meaning that you never quite know what's around the corner, and also showing the bounty of ideas that these guys have.
'Copper Mines' is thoughtful, intricate and engaging, and is (like the album as a whole) simply on a different level to most indie/rock/folk artists doing the rounds. It takes a special skill to draw songs out past the five minute mark and keep them compelling and interesting, especially when the tempo is slow and there are no obvious hooks or choruses, but Mothers do it time and again. 'Nesting Behavior' is a thing of beauty that's buoyed by its uncrowded and unhurried arrangements and delivery, and the same goes for the simmering fuzz of 'Lockjaw'. There's a countryish twang to the quietly sweeping and atmospheric 'Burden Of Proof', where the arrangement is inch-perfect yet again. The standard is never allowed to slip, not for one second, making this record about as consistently great as they come. 'When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired' is a slow-burning masterwork of deceivingly epic proportions and a stealthily mighty debut.
Buy: 'When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired'
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