Mothers’ debut begins, as its title suggests, in charmingly simple fashion. With the bare minimum of twinkling guitar accompanied by the occasional chugging line of strings, ‘Too Small For Eyes’ is a stripped-back showcase of the endearing vocals of Kristine Leschper that make Mothers so special. Written largely solitarily by Leschper before later expanding to the three-piece that makes up Mothers today, it’s only right that the album should begin in this fashion. Wavering and crackling, Leschper’s self-taught vocal style finds its strengths in its unorthodoxy and its blemishes, adding heart and personality to already intimate subject matter.
That’s not to say this is all Mothers have going for them; ‘When You Walk A Long Distance And You Are Tired’ suddenly bursts into life for ‘It Hurts Until It Doesn’t’ as tender folk turns into sensitive but full-bodied rock. Nothing is overstated or particularly complex but it’s in the little flairs of trickery, littered throughout each track that Mothers really come alive.
Sudden shifts in tempo and bursts of noise accompany Leschper’s as she flits between cries and whispers, lifting to euphoric highs before suddenly dropping into sorrowful reflection. In part due to the fact that this album is a combination of songs written both in solitude and as a fully-fledged band, and in part due to multi-faceted influence from the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and Tera Melos, this dancing around and constant change of direction is common. From the shifting tempos of ‘Copper Mines’ to the serene beginning and raucous math-y crescendo of closer ‘Hold Your Own Hand’ ‘When You Walk A Long Distance And You Are Tired’ is never settled, and never should be.
More like this
Not always uplifting, but it consistently delivers.
Mothers’ debut album is a snapshot of a band’s earliest steps like no other - as Kristine Leschper reveals, it’s just “a snapshot.”
The Athens group’s Wichita full-length is online ahead of its release next week.
DIY’s essential, weekly guide to the best new music.