Mourn: Boys Are Stupid, Play Rock at Them

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With their one-word name and their two-note riffs and their competent boy drummer, Mourn are as ‘90s as baby barrettes and budget surpluses. Their debut, Mourn, sounds like its DGC promos could’ve been stacked 20 high for resale at the Princeton Record Exchange in 1996. That’s the year Jazz Rodríguez Bueno and Carla Pérez were born, though they sound much younger — as young as 15-year-old bassist Leia even. My guard was up.

I don’t trust “the ‘90s,” see, because sometimes I still stupidly miss them. By age, I’m predisposed to fall for their sounds and sensibilities, so when young bands, with all those recorded yesterdays to plunder, choose to echo my youth I overcompensate with tough-minded resistance. For months I questioned my enjoyment of Parquet Courts before succumbing – they could call themselves Prrr’chei Kurdts next and I’d stay onboard. I still judge Speedy Ortiz too harshly because I didn’t flip for them instantly.

But the suburban Barcelonan girls (and boy) in Mourn tickled me from the first time I heard “Your Brain Is Made of Candy.” Beginning with an unaccompanied strum, the track builds incrementally verse-by-verse, with no chorus to impede its progress toward a final abrupt halt. As Bueno moans her intent to gobble up all that sweet stuff in your skull, her voice ripples with gothic foreboding and thunders like a Brontë-saurus, but there’s a cute flashlight-below-the-chin campfire spookery to it all. She’s like Footie-PJ Harvey.

Mourn love angry music from the past, but you hear the love more than the anger. When they tell off the title jerk in “Jack” with “You think you’re awesome/ I say you’re bo-o-ring/ You called me a baby/ I just say …. “ well, you know what she just says, but you aren’t expecting her to just say it, rather than scream it. I bet the title of “Misery Factory” owes more to Soul Asylum than to Paramore even if its guitars don’t, “You Don’t Know Me” rocks like Nirvana or at least Radish, and “Otitis” is literally about an ear infection, which is why the chorus is Why should I go living/ If I can’t go swimming?” Throwing tantrums to stave off boredom, Mourn play with punk rage as a pose, which is no dumb way to do it.

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