Editor's Review
  • Album Review: Mothers - When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired - 8/10
    8/10

Summary

When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired is not an easy listen. It’s as distraught and exhausting as its title suggests. Mothers have, in a sense, stumbled upon gold dust with this album: it manages to remain thoughtfully sad without tripping into ‘tearjerker ballad’ territory. Finding solace in its storytelling and desperation in its lyrics, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired is a gruelling

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As its name suggests, Mothers’ debut LP is not an easy listen, nor a walk through the park. Its very literal title When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired reflects that of the Georgian alt-rock quartet’s sorrowful and rancorous sound. Filled with startling moments, melancholy storytelling and swooping harmonies, this is one of the best debut alternative albums of the year. 

Slow-burning and reminiscent of influences such as Sharon Van Etten, Deerhunter and Interpol, the record projects both folky and psychedelic alt-rock vibes. While their sound is hemmed in by a number of influences, this does not stop Mothers from playing with unconventionality and letting their music breathe fresh air into the alternative rock genre. ‘Copper Mines’, for example, dovetails indie rock with frontwoman Kristine Leschper’s shrill and untidy vocals into new, unexplored avenues of indie-folk. On scathing slow-jam ‘Blood-Letting’, she sings “I’ve been finding new waves to walk with / I’ve been finding new knives to kiss with” accompanied by a hushed electric guitar.

“Whether you’re licking your wounds, reeling from a broken heart or drowning in misery, Mothers are willing to drown with you. The enlightened therapy of the LP does not stop at merely showing you misery, it also seeks to educate. “

‘Blood-Letting’ is one of the record’s more emotionally meaningful moments; it is a song that transcends the hopelessness of loneliness. Here, Leschper’s vocals are trembled and delicate, adding to the song’s draped isolation. It is in these moments that When You Walk…’s therapeutic qualities start to come out. While it is impossible to escape the astringency of ‘Copper Mines’, the callous cruelty of ‘Burden Of Proof’, or the arched harmonies of ‘Lockjaw’, there is comfort to be taken in the despairing picture presented by Mothers.

Whether you’re licking your wounds, reeling from a broken heart or drowning in misery, Mothers are willing to drown with you. The enlightened therapy of the LP does not stop at merely showing you misery, it also seeks to educate. Touching on the feeling of being uncomfortable in your own skin and body, the sporadic ‘Too Small For Eyes’ opens the record in that same vein. “I hate my body / I love your taste / birds stirring in my chest / you give and take away”. Fluffed up with a string orchestral section, the track subtly glances at Noah And The Whale’s The First Days Of Spring.

Sparking off the record’s non-linear style, ‘Too Small For Eyes’ is fundamentally self-destructive and angry. The album’s finale, ‘Hold Your Own Hand’ completes the cycle: you’re alone at the start, and you’re alone at the end. Lost within the sonic soundscapes and melodics of the album, this bitter message finds its way out of the record beautifully. It is the way that Leschper articulates her emotions through her lyrics that makes the album all the more striking: a candid trait that is a thematic nod towards Nirvana’s B-Side ‘I Hate Myself And Want To Die’. Indeed, Leschper offers a full and forlorn lesson in misery.

As mentioned at the start of this review, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired is not an easy listen. It’s as distraught and exhausting as its title suggests. Mothers have, in a sense, stumbled upon gold dust with this album: it manages to remain thoughtfully sad without tripping into ‘tearjerker ballad’ territory. Finding solace in its storytelling and desperation in its lyrics, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired is a gruelling triumph.

‘It Hurts Until It Doesn’t’,

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