Mamuthones 'Fear On The Corner' LP
“The songs deal with fear. Fear of the present, of human situations, fear of the new political situation, fear of political decisions being taken from other people’s fear, but also fear of relationship breakdown, fear of being alone or fear of being together with the wrong people, fear of not finding “a place in the world”, personal fear and obsession, fear of fear itself”.
So reckons Alessio Gastaldello, founder member of Mamuthones, who may have originally taken their name from the death-masks used in rituals in their native Sardinia, and initially emerged from the Italian occult psychedelic movement alongside the likes of Father Murphy, Mai Mai Mai and their labelmates Lay Llamas. Yet now, in the wake of their Rocket Recordings debut album ‘Fear On The Corner’, the band find themselves undergoing a metamorphosis from mystical and ceremonial realms into a direct connection with the everyday, the personal and the political.
This vibrant reinvention also sees Mamuthones transcending their roots in Italian prog and soundtrack work, as a steady diet of krautrock and disco has succeeded in shifting their modus operandi firmly in the direction of a distinctly New York-based headspace - a realm of mirrorballs and black-clad basements both. Manifesting an anything-goes sphere of influence whilst tightening up their songwriting from the jam-based explorations of yore, the band have thus created a kaleidoscopic collision of groove-based intrigue and cerebral invention - as adept with infectious hooks as incendiary wig-outs.
As Alessio tells it, the band’s set at Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia marked the end of a chapter, and the arrival of new drummer Andrea Davì marking a move into a more groove-based. eclectic style that finds its metier in the realm of two albums which are paid direct homage in the record’s very title - the bleak and kinetic ‘Fear Of Music’ by Talking Heads and the iconoclastic, heat-haze repetition of Miles Davis’ ‘On The Corner’. Charging a propulsive rhythmic drive with a tightness of songwriting that might bring LCD Soundsystem to mind for many, tracks like the cyclical pulse and absurdist poetry of opener ‘Cars’, the kraut-tinged vortex of the title track and the insidiously catchy floor-filler-in-waiting ‘Alone’ are as rich in maverick spirit as they are sonic invention.
This is principally an aural landscape whereby the eclectic mischief of ZE Records, the sonic brinksmanship of ‘Tago Mago’ era Can and the dub-tinged grooves of UK turn-of-the-‘80s post-punk can happily form communion in a post-2AM reverie. . Yet the band’s ritualistic beginnings are more than apparent in the closing ‘Here We Are’, in which a twilit tapestry of drone, Latin percussion, mantric recitations and vocal exorcisms builds to a demonic conclusion.
“it is a big dance party for very sad events” clarifies Alessio, on the disparity between the serious nature of this record’s subject matter and its distinctly hedonistic atmosphere. “We are a kind of Titanic orchestra playing and dancing while the ship goes down. The party must go on”.
Catalogue number: LAUNCH122