The Lobs are one of those bands that seem to take great pleasure in putting out a ton of music in a short period of time. In a span of less than a year (more accurately, in the span of about half a year), this Montreal band has released an EP and in May just released a full-length. The band must be taking a page out of Expwy‘s book.
While the Lobs’ EP was very much the sound of the band playing around with a whole slew of sounds, Mowing Lawns sees them settling into a grungy, sometimes manic rock sound. There’s a large focus on fuzzy guitars, Jared Brown’s crazy vocals, and occasionally a badass vocal touch from Kate Heffring.
At times, a listener might be forgiven for thinking that they’ve accidentally switched on a 90s grunge album. There’s definitely quite a bit of gloom on these tracks. But at the same time, the listener might also be forgiven they’ve stumbled onto some scuzzier tracks by PS I Love You. Brown’s vocals sometimes have that madman-esque quality that Paul Saulnier also employs.
The album starts off, though, with a song sung by Heffring, called “Watch Tower.” It’s a good introduction to the Lobs for those unfamiliar, employing the static-y guitars right off the bat before Heffring comes in on vocals.
From there, the next seven songs bring Brown into the vocal centrefold. One could get the sense that this album is the soundtrack to a breakdown. In “Medications,” the “madman” vocals are on in full force over heavy guitars. Brown sings “Where did you go? I don’t know.” The next song “In your brain” goes unexpectedly soft, this time with Brown’s vocals closer to a whisper, and one of his lines is “Get me the fuck out of here.” It moves on later to “Don’t Sink,” which sounds like giving up hope, featuring a line like “We’re all fucked anyway.” Clearly the Lobs enjoy the f-bomb, particularly in the song “What the fuck” which starts with the line “What the fuck is going on in this town of the dead?”
But then there’s a weird dose of positivity with “Cats and Spoons.” Among its heavy guitars (as you’ll hear in most songs) there are lines less about resigning oneself and more about looking on the bright side of things. “It’s all gonna be over soon,” says one line from the song, though the line could be interpreted in many different ways.
Heffring returns for vocal duties with “Trees,” and it’s refreshing to hear her voice among the grungy guitars. Ditto “the end,” which is a totally badass closing number.
The drone of the Lobs is a good drone, if slightly distressing as well.
Top Tracks: “Cats and Spoons”; “Trees”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)