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June Garber

Mother Mother reveals new depths to the band and adds Ryan Guldmond to the vocal front line.
Mother Mother: Maybe Ryan Guldemond saves himself as an
ace in the hole for haters.

The Brother in Mother Mother

Eureka reveals more layers and more depth and serves as Ryan Guldemond's Coming Out Party

By Aaron Levy and Brad Van Haastregt

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Casual fans and followers of Quadra Island's Mother Mother will probably most easily identify the band by the velvety sweet vocal style of dual siren songstresses Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin.

The ladies have an ethereal quality to their voices which, strung together atop the rootsy, often jaunty musical beds Canadians have come to recognize through albums like Oh My Heart and Touch Up, could be mistaken for Martians singing along to a bluegrass minstrel.

That would-be-minstrel, however, is easily overlooked by those casual fans and obsessive fanatics alike. Few Mother Mother songs really show any overt trace of the male influence, with the focus so intently, and effectively, placed on the alto tones of Guldemond and Parkin.

We've always been a pop band at the end of the day...

Touch Up’s “Verbatim” is one song where Singer/Songwriter/Composer Ryan Guldemond first speaks up. It smacks the world of what you’d expect from Mother Mother right side around. The guitar loop is reminiscent of Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills”, or J-Lake’s “Cry Me A River”.

...and in the early morning... there's some hooky melodies

The vocals are somewhere between an early, vitriolic Isaac Brock, and Mike Patton on “Epic”, spitting ‘I wear women’s underwear/and then I go to strike a pose in my full length mirror/I cross my legs just like a queer/But my libido is strong when a lady is near, ya’. Not to say that Mother Mother doesn’t take chances as a rule, but there’s something so inviting about the seduction of hearing those quirky angelic voices, that to hear a more explicitly aggressive, potentially objectionable subject matter, comes off as somewhat of a marked departure.

In “Verbatim”, Guldemond goes on to sing/say ‘What defines a straight man's straight?/Is it the boxer in the briefs or a twelve ounce steak?/I tell you what a women loves most/It's a man who can slap but can also stroke’, and there’s a lot more depth to Mother Mother than their accessibility seems to define for listeners. Maybe Guldemond saves himself as an ace in the hole for haters.

Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother
Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother

From the road to Toronto through one of those Southerly states, Guldemond muses about the nature of the band’s music, speaking about their new album Eureka, but effectively referring to their discography as a whole:

“The whole album has many layers. There’s some pop songs on the record… We’ve always been a pop band at the end of the day… In the early morning… there’s some hooky melodies,” but perhaps that’s just the means to Mother Mother’s end of surprising listeners with statements that don’t even seem to be coming from where or when they do.

Eureka does 'stand' for something new and potentially as exciting as it intends to be off-putting

Take, for instance, Eureka’s lead single, “The Stand”.
Tell me your fears,’ beg the sirens.

Okay, it’s everyone here,’ says Ryan.

You mean just all of the people?

Yeah, and all of their peers,’ he retorts, leading to a chorus complaining ‘I can hardly stand the sound of it all’, and eventually a coda that claims ‘everyone’s fucked and they don’t even know’.

All of this without any of the vitriol in delivery of “Verbatim”, and in a song that starts off by talking about vices like women on bikes, who straddle, and something else about handfuls.

It seems that Eureka does ‘stand’ for something new and potentially as exciting as it intends to be off putting, but Guldemond won’t hint as to whether or not there’s underlying meaning in the new song that, chocked full of stadium rock-rhythms and patiently developing harmonies, threatens to take the touring indie-rock circuit by storm.

Mother Mother has already toured with bands like Wintersleep, and held supporting slots on big festivals. They don’t need to say anything surprising to grab the attention of the record buying, downloading, or stealing public – “download it for free”, says Guldemond, “spend your money on crack,” – Mother Mother already has hipsters’ attention.

What hipsters, and the record buying, downloading, or stealing public don’t have, is a good idea of who Mother Mother are at their core. Maybe that’s because there’s a long term plan to unveil the inner workings of this complex and ever-evolving band. Maybe it’s because there’s been a concerted effort to play possum and save some tricks for later.

But Eureka promises to bring those intricacies to light in a way that this ever developing and undeniably unique band can certainly have fun with. And so can listeners.

Welcome to the forefront, Ryan Guldemond; feel free to hang out for a while.
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