Mother Mother finds it

The Vancouver-based quintet release their third and most synth-heavy album to date

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There was this one time where Archimedes made a huge breakthrough. He had been working on volume displacement, or alternating current or something and was so jazzed that he shouted “Eureka!” at the top of his lungs.

Mother Mother, the British Columbian pop-rock quintet, named their third album after this moment of revelation, but that’s where the similarities to the eccentric Greek mathematician end.

Adorning the front cover is a lion’s head, roaring on a background of pastel Technicolour. The liner notes are nearly non-existent. Instead of including the entirety of the lyrics, each track has a few of the key lines written underneath it—interesting, but a bit of a letdown for lyrics fans like me. Eureka’s 12 songs cover a lot of ground, the album is poppy, up-tempo and features great piano work.

The opening track, “Chasing It Down” starts with an old audio recording of a pedantic old man saying, “commonplace things seem to have great significance” before launching into the song. The beat changes too many times to count, alternating between a dragging, stuttering beat and a simple rock rhythm, with ominous organ builds matched with fast descending piano lines throughout. Ryan Guldemond’s high register is in as good of shape as ever, and the band’s two female vocalists provide excellent harmonies.

The second track and first single “The Stand” puts these vocal talents to work with an imagined dialogue between two young girls talking to a man at a bar. It’s almost too catchy for its own good as the synth pulsates and voices bop. “Everyone’s fucked and they don’t even know,” says the man with a laugh as the song sharply ends.

Some songs are so fun and up-tempo that they beg to be danced to, especially “Baby Don’t Dance” and “Problems,” which opens and closes with a rockabilly guitar riff. It’s hard to keep still while you listen, and even the stiffest prude will be tapping their foot by the second chorus.

“Born In A Flash” stands in sharp contrast with these two, with a stiff and slow beat. The minor piano gives it a feeling of a foreboding John Lennon song. The harmonies are gapless, beautiful and ethereal, and the song bears a chilling resemblance to a funeral dirge as a choir sings. Samples of camera shutters weave their way through until interrupting the vocals to end the song.

Some of the final songs bleed into one another, picking up the sound that the previous ended with. “Getaway” has one of the female vocalists taking the lead, and her voice sounds like it belongs to a child’s doll. It’s slow and pretty and becomes “Far In Time,” with its powerful loud chorus.

This bleeds into “Oleander,” a song that’s been stuck in my head for days. It’s got bright cymbal hits and delicate vocals. The percussion builds before the hooky chorus drives in. It closes with a chaotic convergence of sound and recedes into a smooth, sad farewell.

The closing track “Calm Me Down” is my personal favourite and it teases all the way along with its stilted pacing. Each verse details the rattled mental state of the singer and every chorus drops off before picking up where it stopped. These drops leave the listener expecting a big strong caprice that doesn’t come until the last 40 seconds. The lyrics are sexual under a thin veil of euphemism, as the singer breathes “use your body to put me to sleep.”

When the final drop comes and the song goes launching into its crashing finale, it’s nearly cathartic. “Don’t wanna be no seeker, I wanna scream Eureka!” he says as the album draws to a close. You feel like you’ve gone the whole song looking for something and at the ending it’s finally found.

Eureka is an excellent third album that reins in the experimentation of O My Heart, ditching the horns and strings for the organ and synth, which they do expertly. The vocals mix and compliment one another; the guitar always does its job. It’s a pleasure to listen to and unlike fleeting moments of revelation, this Eureka can be put on repeat.

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