Mothertongue are a six-piece band from Manchester that have this strange combination between the genres of Prog, Punk, Ska, Spaghetti Western music, Pop, Indie, and Ska. And with the essences of MoeTar, Cardiacs, Madness, The Blue Ship, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Oingo Boingo, and Mansun to name a few, it’s a twisted, but amazing combination that just the back of my arm hairs go up. This year, they have released their debut album from Bad Elephant Music entitled, Unsongs.
This is a knockout for me the moment I put my headphones and listened to the whole thing from start to finish. There’s a theatrical and art side to Mothertongue’s music whilst adding the sense of humor into their music. I can imagine they were having a blast recording the whole album and knowing something surreal and magical was happening for the sextet. And with seven centerpieces in hand, I know this is a band I will check for years and years to come.
And I hope they will get the Prog-Pop machine rolling in. And for me, they have. Songs like the opener, King of the Tyrant Lizards has a thumping intro featuring a ‘60s rockin’ explosion in the styles of Schizoid Lloyd meets Oingo Boingo, but with a Punk-Mariachi-Ska twist that makes it fun and dramatic melodies flowing in that feels a touch of Dead Man’s Party to get into the dance floor.
A Poem That the Sky Wrote features ascending melodies with punching grooves featuring a Waltz in the beginning along with funk-chugging guitars and vocals reminiscent of Tim Smith while Shango gives a tribute to the late great composer of Elmer Bernstein’s score of The Magnificent Seven between heartbeat percussion’s and horn sections to capture the Western films that makes the song thunderous and very catchy.
Sidescroller has this ‘80s essence of the Video Game scores as if Mothertongue could have done work in the height of the Nintendo-era as if working with Devo for their Oh No! It’s Devo-era on the third installment for the Mega Man series. Meanwhile, Funeral Song for the Icarus Worm features this gentle classical guitar and accordion with a darker-mourning piece before ending in a Vienna style twist as it segues into Blooper’s Theme.
I get a feel of something straight out of MoeTar’s Entropy of the Century with an ascending epic vibe and the vocals hitting those notes very well as lead guitar sections throws in a touch of Queen’s Brian May and having different time signatures into the mix. Nautilus begins with a clean Jazz melody opener before transforming into a different rhythm.
Voices going in various directions a-la Gentle Giant style followed by a dramatic section, more of the thumping rhythms with a galloping momentum and almost having a sing-along anthem with more of the humor thrown in. And I got to admit, this made my jaw-dropped not just because it’s a great song, but the different time changes in the compositions, makes me want to hear more and more of the band’s music.
I have enjoyed listening to Unsongs about nine times now. And Mothertongue as I’ve mentioned before in my introduction, a band that I will check out for years to come to see what kind of magic tricks they have underneath the Top Hat. Bad Elephant Music have never disappointed me and I hope to hear more of Mothertongue’s music and I recommend exploring their debut album, Unsongs.