To give ’The Mouses Album’, the rather bluntly named debut long player from Teeside garage pop duo Mouses, a description that’s nearly as to the point as its title: it’s the sort of extended introduction that is damned difficult to ignore. Their endlessly scuzzy lo-fi sound is about as close to haphazard audio chaos as it gets. In a good way naturally.
Riffs and fills lurch off each other in all directions throughout, with the feeling the wheels could come flying off in spectacular fashion at basically any moment. But the lashings of distortion and gleefully meandering vocals provide a deceptive surface. As, dig a little deeper, and you soon realise the whole thing is held resolutely together by an approach to writing poppy indie-punk that is flair-filled and articulate. Think Blur but with a much rougher aesthetic and a DIY approach.
While if you can keep up with Stephen Bardgett’s breathless delivery you’ll find him dropping an eclectic array of references at a thousand miles an hour. The veering from playfully whimsical to taking introspection to a cuttingly self-depreciative level in the blink of an eye, does add a mildly schizophrenic air to proceedings. But it brings yet more unpredictability to the mayhem, fun and frolics
Sure the balance between punk and indie is little too in favour of the latter for our usual tastes; but the pair are far from the genre norm of Poe-faced forced cool and awkward posing in Topman clobber. Mouses are far too carefree and just a tad too bonkers for that kind of nonsense. The record’s mostly sub three minute blasts mean the whole thing gallops skittishly by. But even if you’ve only the time to check out album highlights, the plaintive love letter style ramblings of ‘Girl’, the relatively downbeat Icarus’ or current single ‘Green’ they’ll drag you straight into spinning the entire record on repeat.
As a first full-length ’The Mouses Album’ is a far from anonymous(e) effort that’s set to see Mouses become big cheeses on the indie scene in the North-East and beyond in the months to come.
‘The Mouses Album’ by Mouses is released on September 23rd on Sister 9 Recordings / Cargo Records.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)