Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pretty Mouth - The Endless Mistake

So here it is, the last album from the volatile madhouse that was Toronto's Pretty Mouth. The Endless Mistake is frustrating for all its flashes of brilliance, and the glimpses of what may have lay in the band's future if their unique style of misanthropic noise had been given time to fester. Alas, their time is up.

On previous albums, targets included religion, big business, and middle class privilege; this time, the primary target seems to be the idea of the song itself, at least in the established punk rock way. There's nary a recognizable chorus, and the band seems to go out of its way to frustrate listeners by hitting a nasty groove and then yanking it away to punish with feedback and noise. [Guitarist Andrew Cleveland loves feedback as much as Greg Ginn loved hitting all the wrong notes.] While hardcore has been slowly transforming into death metal in its pursuit of a heavier sound, Pretty Mouth maintains the chaos and unpredictability of the genre, channeling the ghosts of Daughters and Deadguy (two other bands, it should be noted, that also combusted before their time).

Vocalist Lance Marwood alternates between screaming and...well, not singing exactly, but a more tuneful kind of yelling. Clearly a guy with a lot on his mind, he sounds like a sidewalk preacher who wandered into a recording studio before heading back out again to yell at people waiting for their bus. It works for the most part, though the song "Decisions" goes on for longer than it should. This is a band that did its best work in minute-long bursts; by comparison, a four minute spoken word piece starts to feel like Sabazius.

The title track features the indictment, "There's too many girls and not enough women; there's too many boys and not enough men." Add to that: There's too many followers and not enough risktakers. And now there's one less. RIP Pretty Mouth.

The Endless Mistake will be released September 8th

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