Mother Mother glams it up on ‘O My Heart’

Mother Mother
“O My Heart”
4 stars out of 5

Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Mother Mother’s sophomore album is a dark indie-rock affair that dips into many genres. After impressing with their debut, the band members have proven themselves to be versatile.

The band plays a folk-based pop, creating hook-laden melodies amidst eccentric songwriting. As “O My Heart” progresses, however, Mother Mother hones in on more of a glam-rock style.

Between the rough production work on the album and the male/female vocals, Mother Mother is clearly indebted to former college-rock innovators like the Pixies.

The sound of “O My Heart” is hard to pin down, not only because of the mixing of styles, but also the eclectic instrumentation. On any given track, the band has fun throwing in horns, violins and percussion, leaving the listener guessing. This never feels haphazard, and it is clear that Mother Mother has carefully put together each track.

It is a fascinating and deftly executed album that might have benefited from fewer tracks, but still shines enough to give it a strong recommendation.

Key Tracks: “Hay Loft,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Ghosting”

Cold War Kids
“Loyalty to Loyalty”
2.5 out of 5 stars

Back in 2006, California’s Cold War Kids burst onto the indie scene with a highly appealing record called “Robbers and Cowards,” spawning critical praise. While their follow-up, “Loyalty to Loyalty,” works in largely the same medium as its predecessor, it doesn’t seem to carry nearly the same appeal.

“Loyalty to Loyalty” is not a bad record by any means, but it falls victim to the “beloved first album syndrome” that has already claimed groups like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tapes ‘N Tapes. The new disc lacks its forerunner’s bounty of likable songs like “Saint John” and “We Used to Vacation.” Cold War Kids still embrace jaunty, ragtime piano lines, but their songwriting ideas have worn thin on this record.

“Something Is Not Right with Me” packs a great deal of energy in its two-and-a-half minutes of run time, but comes across as too simple and repetitive to be the representative single in this new chapter of the band. The rest of the record is a far more somber affair. Some highlights include “Mexican Dogs” and “Every Valley Is Not a Lake.” Other positives include Nathan Willett’s vocals, which remain urgent and distinct, and the vintage-style production, which complements the band’s sound.

If you enjoyed their debut, you should give this record a shot, though Cold War Kids’ first record is more likely to win over new fans than “Loyalty to Loyalty.”

Key track: “Every Valley Is Not a Lake”