Mother Of Six: Greek riffology
Mother of Six are a storm that has been gathering over Wrexham for the last 18 months. All the black clouds, ominous rumblings and spectacular flashes are about to reach some kind of apotheosis with the release of their eponymous debut EP on Monday 30 November.
They've been in session on my show, I've played demo recordings a number of times and made an ill-fated trip to see them at The Tivoli in Buckley. But they've been a difficult band to love. Their music is so dense and opaque it's like trying to stare at the world through a piece of obsidian. At least, that was my impression before I heard this EP.
Lead track, Penelope, begins unexpectedly, fizzing valves do battle with a Glitter Band beat, sucking the original Dr Who theme forwards through a black hole. Big fuzzy, phased riffs like rutting mammoths herd in the excellent vocal and cryptic lyric.
We get Homer's Odyssey blasted at us through two millennia on mountainous waves of six-string noise like the ire of Poseidon. In particular, the words are inspired by the fate of the titular Penelope, deserted for twenty years when her husband Odysseus goes to fight in the Trojan War.
Hmmm. Alarm bells are ringing, aren't they? Myth has no place in music. Anyone who has cringed at Robert Plant singing, "T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor" in Ramble On knows that.
But here, somehow, it works. It's not a song about monsters, for a start, but about the aftermath of war and not knowing whether your love has survived, whether you should move on. Mother of Six's singer succeeds in evoking Penelope's loneliness and despair. It's quite an achievement. And his singing is one of the EP's many great strengths. It's never histrionic, recalling Josh Homme and In Utero-era Cobain. It's the Yang to the noise's Ying.
The best hard rock is about the phallic thrust of the guitars and the testosterone pummelling of the drums allied to a vulnerability that I was about to describe as 'feminine' until I realised there's nothing vulnerable about the women in my life. Well, they're certainly no more vulnerable than I am. The vulnerability here, the human connection, comes from the voice, the musicality of the passing notes on the bass, the twinkling harmonics that are there, almost hidden, deep within the mix.
We're still talking about the first song, here. But it is deserving of such attention. Must. Resist. Temptation. To. Make. Bold. Proclamation.
It's the finest rock recording I can recall coming out of North Wales.
Bah! Father forgive me, I have no self-control.
'Rock' is an abused term, I think. In fact, the press release describes some incident while Mother of Six were touring Catalonia when, in the immediate aftermath of a gig, a fisherman stands in the middle of the dancefloor screaming "Art Punk! Art Punk!", and this is regaled presumably to highlight the fact that there is more to their music than 'just' heavy rock.
It's true, the final third of Ahab is like Kyuss rampaging along with Neu! And that's not a lightly tossed comparison. It's an intriguing juxtaposition and not one that I've heard before. Shores starts to oscillate and ooze like a hellish hallucinogen, or Hawkwind, if you prefer. And Norourljos, the final track, certainly has more in common with Faust and Ectogram, say, than the behemoths of Heavy Rock.
But the bread and butter of this EP, and there is no mistaking or escaping the fact, is heavy rock. When it's done this well, with this much eloquence, this much attention to detail, this much desire to ally unexpected rhythms and evocative sounds to the traditional armoury, it sounds as urgent, intriguing and fresh as any self-consciously mangled 'new' form of music.
This new EP, along with Klaus Kinski's recently released single, sets a new standard for guitar music in North Wales. Accept no limitations.
The ((((((Mother of Six)))))) EP will be available from Monday 30 November.