Just Mustard: Heart Under (Partisan) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  

Just Mustard

Heart Under


May 27, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Just Mustard’s mood is contagious. Whatever you might be in the middle of, the Dundalk, Ireland, group’s music can pull your attention away and color your perspective. Case in point, it would be fair to wonder if repeatedly bringing the quintet out on tour with them has had anything to do with compatriots Fontaines D.C. swapping their early Strokes-ian tendencies for a slower, weightier sound.

Heavy is a vibe that Just Mustard wear well, and a weapon they wield with a sense of restraint and surprising limberness. Wednesday, their 2018 debut, was recorded in the band’s practice room, which, in combination with the space in the songs themselves, gives that album its banging and rattling live-from-a-haunted-house ambience. Heart Under presents a more intimate presence, a closer encounter of the spectral kind. “Early” and “Mirrors” raise the hairs on your arms and breathe gently on the back of your neck.

Vocalist Katie Ball steps a little closer to the forefront on Heart Under, not isolated above the melee but not quite as in the thick of it as before. Interestingly, while much of the album was laid down at Attica Recording Studios in Donegal, Ireland, Ball’s vocals were recorded at home. Though rendered apart on their own, they neither hide nor overshadow. Ball’s words are succinct and her voice not thin but sharp, cutting through lyrics about solemn devotions and searching for answers in the dark.

One of Just Mustard’s strengths is that no single strength attempts to outshine the others. David Noonan’s and Mete Kalyoncuoglu’s guitars don’t shred or solo, they swarm and swirl. Robert Hodgers Clarke’s undertowing bass lines rattle the foundations that Shane Maguire’s insistent drumming create. The rhythmic, storming “Still” and “In Shade” feed and grow on this balance. Everything is done in service to the feeling of a song, even more than to its melody, though the hooks take hold in short time. Heart Under beats with uneasy equilibrium. (www.justmustard.bandcamp.com)

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