The fourth record from Quadra Island indie-rock band Mother Mother couldn’t have come at a better time. Released Sept. 18, The Sticks is an album for autumn.

From their first full length album Touch Up released in 2007, to 2011’s Eureka, Mother Mother has maintained their unique sound and indie quality, but The Sticks takes it to a new dimension. There is a heightened sense of confidence in the band’s latest release, perhaps a result of the touring experience and festival exposure they have had over the last few years, and this maturity, accompanied by the band’s signature tightness and calculated musical comprehension, propels The Sticks beyond anything they have done before. Ryan Guldemond’s lyrics are catchy and witty, the back-up vocals from Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin still echo in eerie perfection, but there is an added edge streamlined throughout the record. It is this sense of depth that makes it perfect for this time of year, not in an emo-curl-up-and-weep kind of way, but in a defiant manner. The Sticks says let it be fall and freezing, we’re going to rock it off.

This sense of revolt comes through right after the intro track, with “The Sticks.” Jeremy Page’s bass is heavy and dark, Ali Siadat’s drums are equally so, allowing the keyboards and vocals to rise above the weight to a state of grungy rebellion. It’s a good one to listen to while walking through the rain, head bowed against the wind—a personal soundtrack for overcoming the elements.

The album’s Canadian chart-topping single captures the same mentality. In typical Mother Mother fashion, “Let’s Fall In Love” is edgy yet contained, and the tempo is up-beat enough to keep it contrary to the hibernation-worthy weather while still remaining turbulent and un-sunny. The same quick-paced unruliness exists in “Infinitesmial” and “Latter Days,” and in all three tracks the lyrics are cheeky and irresistible, the kind to sing along to when it is far too early to be dark outside.

The record isn’t one entire mass of up-tempo weather defying tracks, but even when they slow it down, Mother Mother doesn’t get sleepy. “Love it Dissipates,” is almost uncharacteristically simplistic and mainly consists of vocals and an acoustic guitar, but the words keep us awake. As in “O My Heart” in 2008, Guldemond uses unexpected and effective comparisons to make the lyrics interesting and meaningful at the same time: “If you were a country, I’d be your flag/If you were a smoke, I’d be your drag/And if you were a junkie, I’d be your fix/If you were a critic, I’d be your pick.” There’s something exclusively Mother Mother about the simple wording, and while the track fits into their predetermined style, it extends beyond the established boundaries, suiting the newfound level of the entire album.

The Sticks is one of those albums that does a few things at once, for which we should be grateful. It doesn’t stray away from the guidelines we love and expect from Mother Mother, but it establishes the band as one that is still growing musically in a direction we can appreciate. In the same way that it stays true to the band’s promised sound, it suits the season we are stuck in: The Sticks is dark without being dismal, edgy without being dreary, and so though it does not eliminate autumn, it transports it and makes it bearable.

Mother Mother’s Canadian tour kicks off mid-Nov. Don’t miss the opportunity to see them locally, in Victoria on Dec. 13, Cowichan on Dec. 15, Nanaimo on Dec. 16, Campbell River on Dec. 17, or Vancouver on Dec. 19. For links to ticket vendors click here and simply scroll down to watch the music video for “Let’s Fall In Love.”



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