Cassette Corner: Mumblr - "White Jesus / Black God"

Mumblr - White Jesus / Black God
(Fleeting Youth 2013)
"Stops, starts and bucks like a rodeo bull in attempt to toss the listener off its back"
Mumblr's White Jesus / Black God, to be released on Fleeting Youth Records next Tuesday, is a cassette re-issue of the band's first two EP releases, which are said to have given birth to Philadelphian "fuzz punk", hence the bizarre choice of album artwork. To be honest, I hadn't heard any of Mumblr's material prior to popping this tape in my deck, and having read that the quartet tagged themselves with the aforementioned fuzz punk genre, I prepared my ears for yet another Wavves clone. Surprisingly, the sounds that actually came from the deck quickly worked to erase any preconceived notion I had about this release. "Holy Ghost" opens White Jesus, the first half of the double EP, with an atmosphere of suspense, as sparse chords and small bursts of percussion create a tension that seems to stick around for the entire A-side. Nick Banks' distant falsetto surfaces alongside warm, jazzy lead guitar, its calming presence clearing the air for the auditory assault that soon follows. The band takes on an explosive post-grunge sound that stops, starts and bucks like a rodeo bull in attempt to toss the listener off its back. This isn't normally what I'd find myself really getting into, but the album really challenged me to break out of the rut I'd been in, listening almost solely to folky lo-fi music.

A couple tracks appearing on Side A take on a restrained tone. The chiming notes and loose rhythms on "Fuzz Punk", for example, act as a palate cleanser among the constant barrage of heavy instrumentation. Generally, though, the most brutal moments of the EP, like "3/4" are the most enjoyable, attacking like a more fierce Built To Spill. On the B-Side, Black God, demonstrates a faster-paced, more condensed take on the sound introduced in White Jesus, but interestingly enough, is less accessible than its counterpart. "Good Cop, Dad Cop" is the easiest to instantly jam to, with its filtered vocals and shambolic instrumentation. Actually, that particular cut does sort of recall Wavves' crunchy pop vibe, fitting its fuzz punk label quite well. White Jesus / Black God shows incredible depth for a cassette and certainly will leave fans wanting more. Preorder here.