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Athens, Georgia, the little metropolis outside of Atlanta, has done more for music than most major cities. It is the place that has brought to the world the exploits of R.E.M., The B-52s, Drive-by Truckers, Of Montreal, Widespread Panic, Futurebirds, and so many others. But the little metropolis located just outside of corporate Atlanta isn’t finished yet. It now introduces us to Mothers.
Mothers may not share their compatriots love of dueling guitars or jittering disco vibes, but their delicate indie-rock music, as heard on their debut, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired, is equally as explosive. Built around the captivating vocals of Kristine Leschper, Mothers’ music is vulnerable and often crippling, quietly and slowly crushing the soul with their songs about heartbreak, loneliness, abandonment, and separation.
Like masters of their craft, the fleeting journey is gripping and full of surprises, where a song takes an unexpected turn from a calm melody to a tidal wave of sound. “Accessory Cloud” reveals the emotive power of Mothers, who ease us in with the slight tinges of the electronic guitar and mandolin before the songs crests to its crushing climax. The pain in Leschper’s voice is unmistakable, as she calls out to her mother. Its companion, “Burden of Proof”, further weakens the knees, as the haunting strikes of the violins further accentuate the realization of a child being abandoned.
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The poignancy of Mothers’ music, however, is heightened in the album’s first half. The opening single, “Too Small For Eyes”, is mournful yet incredibly beautiful. The combination of mandolin plucks, the striking of the strings along with Leschper’s apologetic voice leave once shaken and left to feel exposed. While Leschper continues to sing about personal loss on “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t”, the track is the album’s most exhilarating number. The pace is quickened, and the track shimmers with some wonderful guitar work and sublime rhythms. It is a moody, little rocker, reflective of some of My Morning Jacket’s earlier works. “Copper Mines”, likewise, is MMJ-esque. This roller-coaster burner is terrifically paced, as the tempo changes frequently and the tickling bass line creates a cathartic feel.
“Paradise at Last “, though, is the album’s emotional center. Stark yet breathtakingly stunning, the song slowly builds until reaching its dramatic finale. It’s not necessarily a song about finding something tangible, but discovering something or someone locked up inside us. “Lockjaw” similarly burns slowly like a candle in the night. Instead of a flameout we’re given a wonderful, controlled cascade of guitars, cymbals, and bass. Never once, though, does the instrumentation overtake Leschper’s storytelling, which is immensely powerful on this track:
I don’t want your kind words.
I want your ghost inside a thimble.
I woke up feeling mutilated.
And I made my way best I can to my place.I made my way best I can to my place.
It is a rarity to hear songs as strong and powerful as those written by Mothers, encapsulated by those lines in “Lockjaw”. So to categorize When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired as just another album would be an injustice to what Mothers have crafted. It is a collection of stories that require you’re undivided attention. Stories for you to live and breathe. Stories that will forever haunt your mind, and why When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired will be remembered at the end of the year as one of the year’s best and definitely as one of its emotional powerhouses.
Mothers are Kristine Leschper (guitar, vocals); Matthew Anderegg (drums); Drew Kirby (guitar); and Patrick Morales (bass). Follow the band at the following sites: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Featured image by Erez Avissar
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