Mush: 3D Routine (Memphis Industries) Reviews | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, December 5th, 2020  

Mush

3D Routine

Memphis Industries

Feb 18, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


If nothing else, Mush are a lot of fun. Hailing from Leeds in England, the post-punk four-piece barrel through each of the songs on 3D Routine, their debut record, with an exuberance that's hard not to find infectious. The guitar lines run parallel and across one another, the vocals catch at the throat, and the bass grounds everything with a relentless groove.

Things kick off with "Revising My Fee," a great prognostic of what's to come. Mush make it clear there's no time to dilly dally immediately, as the whole unit is propelled forward by an urgent drumbeat—for a first foot forward, it's a very fast one. The whole band are well-oiled, sure, but thankfully there's a live spark and a lo-fi charm that gives the melodies an extra edge.

Rather than their Leeds peer group, Mush feel far more in tune with the loose cabal of post-punkers in the U.S. that came through under Parquet Courts. There's a lack of pretense to tracks like the fittingly titled "Eat the Etiquette" that makes it easy to imagine a bunch of sweaty 20-somethings doing some good natured jostling. The fact that Mush have captured some of this energy on tape is definitely to their credit.  

The main point of differentiation for Mush is lead singer Dan Hyndman's voice, somewhere between a standardly eccentric post-punk squeal and an overly-enunciated Bob Dylan impression. Whether you find it adds to the air of youthful middle-fingers-up irreverence or think it's just a bit annoying is a definite barrier for entry—less a Marmite moment than a Marquee Moon one.

Ironically it's the exact opposite issue that holds Mush back: namely, a lack of differentiation. At 46 minutes this isn't the brisk debut it could've (and certainly should've) been, an issue only compounded by the interminable final track, "Alternate Facts," a nine-minute crawl to the finish that chugs and chugs, all the while rarely doing anything to justify its extended length.

What Mush have really made is a record that you can gauge your reaction to before you even pick it up. Jagged guitar riffs that playfully clash together? Check. Sardonic lyrics about contemporary society? Check. A head-nodding, occasionally repetitive forward momentum? Check, check, and check. There are plenty of good times to be had on 3D Routine, but you can't help but crave something a little more fulfilling. (www.mushband.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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