Standout Tracks: Good Thing Bad Thing, Salty Tear, My House Is Wild.
Stream the album on Pitchfork Advance.
Eighteen months after emerging, birthed from Montreal’s burgeoning Electro Pop scene, Mozart’s Sister returns with their first full-length release Being- a strange, industrial, future pop gem with Caila Thompson-Hannant’s primal singing style propelling the album forward.
Being opens on a strong setting. Pulsating choruses of Caila’s layered voice are strung over a minimal but dense synth base line. It creates the perfect contrast of hollow and dry with Caila’s emotive and stylized vocal style. Following the first chorus of Good Thing Bad Thing, Caila wails like a wounded animal that has found within itself the will to survive- an interesting imagery considering the song itself serves as an introductory mantra to Being as a whole, referring to the pendulum swing of life and the ebb and flow of positive and negative. It’s as primitive and animalistic as it is intellectual and self-aware.
The album gets darker and stranger on Enjoy, a smart track that features Caila creepily chanting “1,2,3 don’t fuck with me”. It’s the beginning of the unraveling of Caila’s person on this exploration of the self- like the immature defense mechanism we all activate when we discover an unsettling truth within our universe or ourselves. Enjoy demonstrates the wavering between self doubt and confidence throughout the album, much like Caila’s faltering voice hovers right above and right below the exact pitch. She creates a haunting atmosphere, that paired with her child like style and industrial instrumentation captures Being perfectly.
At times the crackling backgrounds and raw sounding synthesizers are magic, and as the album continues a strong sense of gothic synth pop emerges. It isn’t necessary to hear the line “Reach out and touch faif” to get the strong influence of the beginnings of New Wave, Electro Clash and Synth Pop. The album clearly pays homage to the electronic bands of the 80s, not only stylistically but also thematically- there is dark intertwined with bright, and heavy topics dressed in a dangerously playful light.
Compared to Mozart’s Sister’s debut EP Hello, Being is stronger, starker, more defined and confident. It’s the stepping stone that sets Mozart’s Sister apart from the hundreds of other synth pop bands that are still fledgling. In fact, these bands could learn from Mozart’s Sister about the intersection of Electronic and Pop music, and maybe even find answers about Pop itself. Much like the identity crisis that is being fleshed out through the awakening of Being’s main focus (man and his relationship with himself and his surroundings) the sonic explorations on Being are like an awakening of Pop itself and an ushering in of its future. Pop as the body and spirit, if you will.
It’s also as though this music is both informed by Pop and reactive to it- crafting sounds the opposite way top 40 is crafted- filling out different aspects and mixing for new results. And Mozart’s Sister never loses it’s grip on the listener, pulling you in with a detached abstraction and keeping you hooked as the songs unfurl into unexpectedly captivating homages to electronic greats. The tracks are also lyrical reactions to the overwhelming majority of music- playing out deep reflections on personhood while crafting a unique new sound.