Saturday, October 11, 2008
Part of the nth-gen No Wave movement, which crazily enough has survived this long, from a few dozen people milling about downtown New York in the very late ‘70s and very early ‘80s, into the same, and often even smaller, numbers in various patches of youth around the globe. Canada in particular houses a lot of these types of bands, some better than others, and some just not good at all. Mutators, from Vancouver, buck this trend, kids who take this sound from a predominantly punk/agitated perspective, and who don’t rely on weirdness, antics, or obtuse musicianship. They get their punk from geographic proclivities, the guitars, synths, and caffeinated drumming all hand-me-downs from Olympia riot peeps of the ‘90s (everything from Heavens to Betsy’s seasick protests to Unwound’s SY-detuned detournments is accounted for on Secret Life, album #1 following a healthy dose of singles and splits). But the most noticeable aspect of their sound is the harsh, screamy attack of vocalist Lief Hall, who can go from stormy art-school chanteuse to slasher victim like she’s flipping a switch. Those vocals can sometimes overpower the music, and have been a barrier of entry on previous efforts, but here things manage to blend in more successfully, due in no small part to the band learning more about how to groove, and finding joys in syncopation, not just dissonance and squalor. Really good stuff from a band that keeps getting better.
Mutators - Secret Life