Album Review: Mourn—“Mourn”

By James Li

Nostalgia is a powerful feeling – sometimes we long for something that we weren’t even alive for in the first place. Like so many teenagers, I was obsessed with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd in high school, and I constantly got remarks that I was born several decades too late. The Barcelona punk band Mourn have a similar condition. In an interview with The SSFW, the band said that their favourite decade was the 90s. But here’s the kicker: Mourn is three 18 year-olds and a 15 year-old. These teens barely remember the 90s.

Mourn is fronted by Jazz Rodriguez Bueno and Carla Pérez Vas, two high school friends (both of whom are 18 at the moment), who started off posting acoustic songs on YouTube. They endearingly describe their band as four “nerds playing music and shit at the doors of hell,” and their self-titled debut album retains the same scrappy quality of an acoustic YouTube cover, having been recorded in only two days. It’s already out in Europe, through the Spanish label Sones, but it also caught the attention of major indie label Captured Tracks, who are issuing it in North America in 2015.

Album cover for Mourn

Album cover for Mourn

If you’re familiar with Captured Tracks through their jangly, beachy acts like DIIV, Beach Fossils, and Mac DeMarco, then Mourn will be something different. “Otitis” is jangly and beachy, too – it’s even about swimming – But it’s loud and turbulent: Rodriguez and Pérez sing about being seasick, and it comes through in their voices. Their voices complement each other well, but they don’t quite harmonize. Instead, their voices sound like the deadpan moans of punk icons like Patti Smith, Kim Gordon, and PJ Harvey.

When they say that their favourite decade is the 90s, they’re referring to the raw and ragged alt-rock of the 90s: PJ Harvey, Sebadoh, and Sleater-Kinney. Of course, Sleater-Kinney did write “Entertain,” a song that dissed bands who emptily rely on nostalgia – bands that sound 1972, but with none of the “fuck you” or the “black and blue.”

It’s a valid concern for Mourn, but thankfully, they take the sound of the early 90s and add in plenty of black and blue. Teens will be teens, and a lot of that angst comes through on Mourn. “Jack” opens with “You think you’re awesome / I think you’re boring,” before bursting into a “fuck you.” And other song titles like “Dark Issues,” “Misery Factory,” and of course, “Boys Are Cunts” will tell you how angry Mourn are.

There’s tons of teenagers who love rock music from decades gone by. Many of them will pick up a guitar or drums and try to emulate their idols. But not too many will do it as faithfully and forcefully as Mourn do right now. As far as high school bands go, Mourn might be one of the best ones out there today. (Captured Tracks)

Listen: “Otitis

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