California three piece Mom Jeans. make a stellar debut with Best Buds, a thirty six minute album glimmering on the surface with light-hearted cry-baby indie rock. For a fan of kitchen sink confessional lyricists and haphazard musicians Best Buds is an instant head turner, evoking a strong stylistic connection with the likes of Joyce Manor, The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball.
‘Death Cup’, sets the overall tone for what’s to come. This introduction definitely makes a spark; it homes in on the similarities with artists that no doubt influenced the band, whilst letting their doubtless talent in their field shine through. It’s saturated in the kind of self-pity that almost all of us can admit to indulging in, and the slow and uncomplicated rhythm makes for easy understandable listening. Death Cup doesn’t tangle in any ground-breaking ideas, it’s a lost-love song, but the transitions between melody and rhythm take the listener from deflation to animosity seamlessly between the verse and chorus
‘Danger Can’t’ begins with a strong beat and introduces a softer more melodic guitar part which can be heard throughout the record (which is also rather reminiscent of early Tiny Moving Parts). As a whole it’s an interesting track and makes a point that this band are a potential force to be reckoned with, using a naturally flowing but complex mixture of rhythm and a rather pointed breakdown at the close of the song. ‘Danger Can’t’ however does send up some initial red flags, possibly due to personal preference, with some rather infantile sounding lyrics “healed me with your hugs” and use of the done to death notion of “I love you more than I’ve ever loved myself”.
‘Movember’, a soft initially acoustic number is a reassurance this isn’t a one trick band. The subtle cheerful sounding guitar gives a stripped back and understated feel. Eric Butler’s vocals are complimented with the addition of Sarah Levy (Pity Party) and as the track slowly begins to gain thick layers of percussion and guitar Mom Jeans. show that though they are in the dawn of their career, they certainly know how to build a track. One of the subtle triumphs on Best Buds is the near unnoticeable transition between ‘Movember’ and ‘Edward 40hands’. ‘Edward 40hands’ kicks off with a huge dollop of tongue in cheek confidence, opening with a fake and hilarious dialogue between a venue staff member and the band; they are being asked to tune up again, play on the beat and “just do it right” to which they happily refuse. The track is light and fun, and although it uses another rather worn out idea in comparing a relationship to cigarette smoking, it does so with an original well thought through take on the matter.
Some cracks begin to show in the middle section of the album ‘**Sobs Quietly**’ is a brilliant sounding track, but it was also a brilliant sounding track when Sorority Noise released ‘Blonde Hair, Black Lungs’ in 2014 and the parallels between them rhythmically are undeniable. In this genre of music a new band can be easily forgiven for taking an inspiration from their influences, after all to an untrained ear a lot of the post-post emo bands do “sound the same” but because of this **Sobs Quietly** doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Poor Boxer Shorts is a return to the sound Mom Jeans. were making waves with at the start of the album, the melody and beat has ambition and the track is heavily layered with plenty of excellent lively sounds. The problem here is that the lyrics simply do not live up to the strength of the vocal. The expression “hurts so bad” should be banned from every form of literature and alongside the line “I’m so sad, whenever you’re not here” it all sounds a bit too immature, tarnishing what could be a stand- out track.
Remy’s Boys and Girl Scout Cookies are the wholly darkest tracks, where the self-detriment sounds far more genuine and thoughtful than anywhere else. These songs give the album the integrity and depth it needs to be taken seriously and on them the band play together as a noticeably solid unit, one who clearly are on the same page about what they want to say and how they want it to be delivered.
Scott Pilgrim V My GPA is a welcomed return to slow acoustics. It’s a gentle and delicate track, a ray of sunshine as the Best Buds beings to draw to a close. The track is a harmony between vocals and instrumentals drawing out feelings of tentative positivity. It’s genuine and doesn’t play on any silly gimmicks, proving Mom Jeans. don’t need them to make something exhilarating. The album comes to a defiant sounding finish with the soft and honest Vape Nation. The acoustic guitar melody is simple and by using it as the sole instrument the final thoughts on the album can be considered clearly. ‘I’m not going back to my bed before I find a way to tire myself out, it seems that everything tires me out except trying to get some rest’ is a perfect accumulation of Best Buds spirit, in a relatable idea softly floating out so naturally you can almost hear the needle hitting the end of the record.
Check out Mom Jeans.here:
performing a beautiful rendition of ‘Death Cup’ at the Little Elephant