Clark Kent's Rock n Roll Revue #001 Visits Mouths at Brixton's Windmill
The world of Rock n Roll has always been a whirling dervish of drunken promises, celebration of social upheaval and heartbreak.
All of these impassioned stimuli set to the technical and creative innovation of guitars bass and drums. So, it's a shame that in the chronicling of the hit and miss live scene that is London that things don't often go to plan. The U.S blog I used to work for is on hiatus and has thus rendered a backlog of unpublished reviews worryingly outdated. Writing for the awesome Street Gypsies is my solution! Before we review MOUTHS, a tiny bit about me and what I intend to do for you:
1) My job/mission/calling is to relate the sounds of this Islands' musical artists, be they young, be they old - so long as they move me. This Rock and Roll Revue will NEVER slate or crush a band. And this brings us neatly to the things-not-going-to-plan factoid. Due to bad organisation on the part of some promoters I shall not mention, I won't be reviewing the latest show of MOUTHS. I didn't watch it. My date had waited long enough for them to take the stage. We had to head off. Instead, you all have the chance to read up on the first time I witnessed their wild eccentric brand of noxious post punk romanticism. Ready?
I’m here on the promise that these guys will play Pigs Will Fly. They’d better, Man of Steel opens in the cinema tonight so I don’t care if this is their first gig, MOUTHS better rock.
Dave Mountain takes the stage and picks up his guitar to play. Drummer Ryan Kalkman adjusts his drum stool and sits upon it. They are a two piece. They need to rock.
The band begins to play, and they commence their musical communion in a fashion that suggests a serious ritualistic fascination. Anthem-like but with a slow build, MOUTHS stroke the audience’s G-spot by opening with 2012. This song is full of overwrought emotion and frankly you have to see it to believe it. Dave Mountain’s guitar sounds like its crying. He uses his whammy bar to bend the notes out of tune. He does so incessantly. Gotta love a band with an instantly recognisable sonic motif.
There are many grand musical moments, the twisted alt-rock of "For Life." Think Jimi Hendrix jamming to Pavement after hearing Graeme Coxon squall his way through a live Blur set. Dave Mountain is an artist in that he prefers to leave a stylistic stamp over the tune. He has been playing since he was fourteen and despite the opportunity to use other people’s amps, Dave insists on using his own set-up if possible. His music may sound spontaneous and carefree but this musician/producer has the mind of a scientist. O.K, a mad scientist.
Ryan told me before the gig that he plays drums as a challenge, that originally he’s a bassist. Throughout the set I watch the Australian’s anarchic rhythms belly Dave’s wild six-stringed splurges. And Dave is every bit the rollicking showman, in love with his guitar, every bit as possessed by the sounds he makes as he gushes over the dry spell that has been his studio-life (Dave Mountain is the owner of Attic Sounds Studio’s in Bermondsey). This is a man who quite visibly needs to play his instrument.
Man, the sound is so unbelievably full. Hard to believe that they express a concern afterwards about bottom end, that they are looking to get a bassist to join them.
In this regard, I hope they fail.
Y’see, part of the attraction I have toward the band is Dave’s wayward stage stumbling. Where’s he going? What’s he singing? What wild solo will he spit at us next? In short, Dave is oddball enough to drop the veil of enigma over his stage presence. Much like Jack White, I do believe that Dave will cut a less fascinating appearance should other capable musicians share the front line of performance area. Perhaps for records they ought to use the skills of other personnel, but I’m convinced that tonight’s whoops and cheers are evidence enough that what MOUTHS currently deliver is in no way broken.
When they get to the sublime slacker snarl that is Pigs Might Fly, MOUTHS do indeed rock. I sense there is some concern for his mortality, a genuine concern for himself and his generation’s lifestyle, but then lyricists sing one thing and mean another. Doorbell is a tune that isn’t on the Soundcloud. Listen to it. Sure, Dave is in anti-melody mode here, Doorbell being no way as near as catchy as say, Pigs Might Fly or For Life. Understand me fellow Gypsies; this is a sound you may not like. This is a song you might fall in love with. In any case, this is something quite bizarre and idiosyncratic. You can’t begrudge MOUTHS for their oddity and menace. Dave confessed that his biggest influence is My Bloody Valentine, one of those bands you hear so much about but for some odd reason have never listened to. I think I’ll check them out when I get home. Hopefully, they’ll be as good as MOUTHS.
June 14th 2013