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Mourn - Mourn


Release date: 16 February 2015
CT216 Mourn Cover 1400
10 February 2015, 09:30 Written by Jon Putnam
1996 through 1998, when I was 15-17 years old, I was in high school, like most teenagers, and worked part-time at a local hardware store. I’d go to our school’s sporting events or play video games with my 12-year old brother in my non-studying, non-work time. I never had a girlfriend until the end of my final year of high school and I spent the time up until that point writing, what I thought was, brainy and hip sounding absurdist love poetry, borne from my love of Bob Dylan and my propensity to crush constantly from one girl to the next without ever getting a date.

True, all of that has gotten me to this lofty position here of writing to you all about Spanish quartet Mourn’s debut album, but it’s not half as cool – not even half of that – as what Mourn themselves are doing. You see, these four kids – and I don’t use that word loosely here, really – are between 15 and 18 years old, having composed the songs here on their debut a year or two prior to even that. Now, while the age matter with Mourn is probably an obvious one, I don’t mention it as a qualitative caveat to my evaluation of their album – you know, hey this isn’t bad for a bunch of teenagers – it’s a massive, honest-to-God compliment to the quality of their debut.

Blowing by in under a half hour, only one song over three minutes and four songs under two, it’s pithy, pissy, and potent, a speed-racing, concentrated hunk of rudimentary teenage angst. And, yeah, banging out two-minute dollops of profane ranting and raving anchored to a barely basic technical ability is as old as, well, rock and roll itself, but that’s rock and roll, baby, and it’ll never get old. The leather-clad garage rock revival enjoyed its brief time in the sun on the coattails of The Strokes nearly a decade and a half ago, but that was always a calculated proposition – all of the “The –“ bands, the carefully manicured two to three minute songs, the leather jackets and tattered jeans.

What Mourn’s youth affords them is the inexperience and ignorance to be an organic, spontaneous creation. The songs don’t carry on past two minutes or so because, well, they don’t need to; the band spent just 48 hours recording the album live in the studio because, well, why not?; front-ladies-in-crime Jazz Rodriguez Bueno and Carla Perez Vas spend a good portion of the album’s time telling various folks to “shut up” and “go fuck yourself”, because, well, say what you mean and mean what you say. Bueno and Vas write about guys – “Jack” and “Marshal” – that have screwed them over, surrealistic ditties dreamt up while bored in class (“Your Brain Is Made of Candy”, “Philliphius”), and a plain and expertly titled diatribe toward the Martian sex in “Boys Are Cunts”.

The band counts PJ Harvey as their idol and primary influence, and they do fly a bit close to that sun on occasion, with Bueno sounding positively uncanny at times. But who gives a shit? There’s not an ounce of fat or pretense here, just ovaries to the wall rock and roll like we’ve been hearing for the past six decades without ever tiring of it. Mourn is a hearty, eye-popping reminder just how far we have swayed from rock music’s embryo nowadays and how awfully contrived the revivalist stabs have been. This isn’t revivalism, folks, it’s Bueno, Vas, and company sincerely and faithfully carrying on a tradition rooted all the way back in Iggy’s howls and The MC5’s insistence to “kick out the jams, motherfucker!”

The mealy-mouthed Ivory Tower types will try and proffer the notion that “rock is dead”. Throw on these kids’ 80-second dive bomb “Jack” for a prime response to that.

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