Mormon Girls - The Farm Sessions
(Norwegian Blue 2013)
As fun as it is for me to get wrapped up in subgenres and subcultures, there are times when nothing can be as satisfying as pure, unadulterated indie rock. In an age that demands gimmicks and an unorthodox recording quality to stand out in a crowd of indie upstarts, it's surprising to hear such an honest effort like The Farm Sessions, the debut release by Canadian quartet Mormon Girls, and it's even more surprising to find it on cassette. With its raw, but also lifelike sound quality, (as the title suggests), this EP melds Dinosaur Jr's You're Living All Over Me with the mid-tempo college rock delivered by R.E.M. and Ned's Atomic Dustbin.
The opening track, "Boy", opens with a crawling, but heavily distorted riff that sails into the air, leaving behind a small shower of sparks. The drums are curt and to the point, filling the sparsity between the guitar notes. Mick Hayward's vocals ease into the tune, and his singing fits somewhere among Ben Gibbard's and Michael Stipe's. As the instrumentation takes back center stage, a second guitar and a nimble, slippery bass line join the song and the drums fire back a bit more aggressively, creating a wall of nearly concrete sound. Mormon Girls' excellent variation of dynamic and texture sounds great on tape, and the live recording style just makes the instrumental crescendos hit that much harder. Especially benefitting from this treatment is "Bears I". Its growling post-punk power chords transition seamlessly transition into post-punk lead guitar as Hayward's vocal delivery overloads the microphone, the highlight of the tape.
Since this is the first cassette release on Norwegian Blue Records, I must note that the design is very nice. The scattered arrangement of font on the cover art seems like a touch from an early Captured Tracks 7", and the music is pressed on translucent red tapes, which always look great in my opinion. You can buy it here.