I know next to nothing about Mouse. I came across them via @thediscovertab on Twitter and their Bandcamp page recommends both Momma and Horsegirl which is definitely something I can get behind. They’re from Brisbane, Australia and UTLOTAC is their second full length, following 2022’s Here Was Then.

And they’re brilliant.

And I love everything about this record. 

I love how the bass sounds, I love how the drum sounds, I love how the guitars (all the guitars) sound, I love how the violin gives it a distinct and haunting quality, I love the different vocal styles, from gentle cooing to Duster style whispering to full on shouting and a Daniel Johnston-esque croak. 

I love that it reminds me of the bands I cherished as a teenager in the early nineties. There are elements of shoegaze, noise rock, slowcore and indie rock but put together in such a way that it sounds both familiar and fresh. Yes I can hear Seam and Sloan and Swervedriver and Sonic Youth (lots of Sonic Youth) and Unwound and 18th Dye and Eric’s Trip and Drop Nineteens but it never feels like plagiarism. Mouse have taken the bands they (and I) love and the sounds they (and I) love and made something that pays homage in a new and interesting way. There are other bands out there that hark back to this sound but most are either way too polished or too straight up similar to be interesting. Mouse have a personality of their own and a looseness that allows the songs to breathe. I guess the violin helps here – Rex had a violin, and That Dog and Chia Pet, but not too many others. 

I love how the record starts slow and builds, how it ebbs and flows and how there are songs that shred and songs that soothe and how the whole thing feels like a coherent whole, not just a collection of songs.  It probably helps that it was recorded in the space of a week but whatever, this is an album and should be listened to as such. The tracking is just so and enables the songs to flow into each other so well that now, having lived with the record for barely a week, as one track ends my brain is already anticipating the start of the next. 

Lyrically there are a range of moods from solemn introspection – “I’m disconnecting the idea of good and bad feeling – it’s just feeling” from Mount the Curb – to the kind of honest, perhaps mundane, storytelling of the aforementioned Daniel Johnston or maybe Courtney Barnett (see Country Welcome Mat). There’s also some great singalong parts – “Took my shirt off in the yard ‘cos I wanna feel the wind on my skin” from opener Yosemite – as well as more profound ideas – “Just because I thought it doesn’t mean I am it” from Mount the Curb again.

The production is great too, allowing each instrument to shine in it’s own right while giving the guitars (all the guitars) a platform to take centre stage. There are tender fuzzy tones that wrap you up in a warm blanket of sound as well as moments of guitar abuse that Messrs Ranaldo and Moore would be proud of (Buffy even samples In The Kingdom #19 from EVOL – a foundational text as far as this reviewer is concerned.) 

Anyway, if you have any interest at all in 90s guitar music you could do a lot worse than give this record a go. There’s a lot to like and as it’s only a $1 on Bandcamp not a whole lot to lose. Personally, I’m calling Album Of The Year right now. It really is THAT good. 


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