CANADIAN BAND PROFILE: MOTHER MOTHER
Since the band’s inception back in 2005, Mother Mother has consistently delivered among the freshest and most unique sounding alternative music in the Canadian scene, evolving gracefully with each album and not being afraid to try new things with their overall sound, all the while retaining a level of cerebral lyricism that’s rarely found in modern music.
Originally established under the moniker Mother, the band formed in Vancouver in 2005 as a three- piece featuring guitarist and singer Ryan Guldemond, his sister Molly and Debra- Jean Creelman. The initial incarnation of the band was an acoustic troupe, performing the songs Ryan had written while at music school, and things continued in that same format until bassist Jeremy Page and drummer Kenton Loewen were added to the lineup ahead of the recording of the band’s debut album, the self- titled Mother. The lineup saw a couple more changes before it reached its current format, however, with Creelman departing in late 2008 to be replaced by Jasmin Parkin on keyboard and vocal duty, and original drummer Loewen stepping aside for Ali Siadat. Loewen has since gone on to spearhead his own project, The Crackling, on top of appearing as drummer for several acts. Adopting a second Mother to the band’s name, Mother Mother began to take shape, and that original long player, recorded with Howard Redekopp, who has also worked with the likes of Tegan and Sara and The New Pornographers, was eventually re- released on Last Gang Records as part of a four album deal in February of 2007. Although not a commercial smash by any stretch, Touch Up did enough to establish the band on the local circuit, and earmarked them as one to watch in the Canadian music scene, with several outlets tipping them for the top.
A second album followed with 2008’ s O My Heart, spawning the singles O My Heart, Body of Years and Hayloft which reached 24, 14 and 43, respectively, in the Canadian alternative charts between 2008 and 2009. Again, the success was moderate, but the band’s evolution and maturation was clear for all to see, with an intriguing mix of subtly dark lyrics, unexpected sonic twists and radio- friendly melodies ensuring plenty of airplay. Of the band’s body of work to date, many cite O My Heart as their most traditional record of all, with many elements harking back to a Seattle- esque sound reminiscent of the early to mid- 90s, albeit with a lot more levity than the bands that clearly influenced the recording. It was arguably 2011’ s Eureka that really cemented Mother Mother’s national success, though, with first single The Stand coming in at number 3 in the alternative charts, followed by an 11th place peak for Baby Don’t Dance and 20th for third and final single, Simply Simple. A much brighter, poppier and upbeat effort than its predecessors, Eureka would
prove to lay the foundations for the band’s future records, integrating upfront electronic instrumentation for the first time, and pushing towards a fuller, more epic sound. That trend continued with the launch of The Sticks in 2012, an album that, for many, defines Mother Mother. Far more electronic and featuring borderline EDM elements in places, it played host to singles Let’s Fall in Love, Bit by Bit and Infinitesimal - a trio of hits that, to this day, are commonplace on alternative radio across Canada and beyond. The Sticks would also prove to be the band’s most commercially successful effort in terms of its singles’ chart placing, with Let’s Fall in Love equalling The Stand’s 3rd place peak in the Canadian alternative charts, Bit by Bit nailing down a high of 4th, and Infinitesimal managing 12th. It also marked the band’s final release on Last Gang Records before signing up with Universal Music Canada in 2014 for the release of the band’s fifth studio album, Very Good Bad Thing. By far the band’s most electronic offering, Very Good Bad Thing continues to forge a new path for the five- piece, with standout tracks including Get Out the Way, Monkey Tree and title track, Very Good Bad Thing. Sonically, 2015’ s Mother Mother is almost unrecognizable from its origins, with broad, sweeping synth chords and huge, modulating electronic basslines accentuating Guldemond’s vocals in a way that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Nevertheless, the band has stayed true to its lyrical sensibilities, and continues to deliver overtly introspective examinations on modern life, infused with a dark sense of humour that would feel out of place in practically any other band’s work. They may be a divisive band, with many lumping them in with Nickelback in the dislike stakes, but there’s far more to Mother Mother than the bland, limp rock sensibilities of Chad Kroeger and his band mates here, and even if their sound means they’re unlikely to attain the level of widespread success of their middleofthe- road compatriots, they’re certainly going about things in an infinitely more interesting way.