There is not much ground left uncovered on Mopey’s new album, Total Education, and it manages to sweep through a variety of genres with an ease and cohesion that showcases the band’s commendable versatility and musicianship.
It’s an album with something for basically everyone, geared towards the increasingly rare listener who is up for that kind of album-spanning listening adventure.
In other words, it’s an album for people hungry for sounds they haven’t heard before. (Check Out “Whostorian Quaterly,” it sounds like Gang of Four and/or The Dismemberment Plan jamming with a drunk drum machine. And that’s a fabulous thing.)
Total Education starts fast and furious, calming itself down by track 3 for some experimental, quiet sounds that haven’t quite come from anyone in this town. Except maybe track 5, “In Your Shadow,” which approximates a more jittery take on what Patrick Canning (aka Sad Tax) writes. Also a good thing.
The album opens with a bang: “Confessions of a Break Open Addict” is a heavy, surfy spin on punk, and it sets the tone for the fearlessly direct and adventurous vocals that help define the album. “The Problem” follows suit, and might be the album’s highlight: this is a fantastic, in-your-face post punk song that defies the simplistic 3-chord powerchord recipe that usually entraps the genre.
The chugging bassline, searing guitar, and feral vocal work make the song shine. “Love Struck You Dumb” rolls in as number three to mix things up with an undefinable slow rocker. From the tripped-out synth panning back and forth, to a touch of Meg “Scrambled Meggz” Harnum on backup vocals, the song’ll lodge itself in your head for the day.
This album is a mish mash of musical sounds, not even afraid of borrowing from metal, and it works, all of it, in being accessible too, even if you’re a reserved listener of exploratory bands. Mopey is pioneering something here, and it’s safe to say time will honour it if they keep pushing themselves to push the envelope like this.
This is striking work on its face value, and also notable in that the people who made it are awfully young to be creating music this original, good, and solid. Mentioning their age shouldn’t evoke “ones to keep an eye on,” as Mopey is more like something to aspire to: it is music as it should be: distinct to the band that made it.
If you’re a songwriter, flick on “Ballad of the Pale Kidz,” it’s not the kind of intro or vocal melody most of us would’ve come up with. Lastly, it should be noted that there’s a song on here entitled “Your Body is a Splash’n’ Putt.” Best local-reference song title ever?
All in all it’s a good album to sit back and take in, for the lack of predictability in where it’s going. Total Education does a great job of all the ground it covers, and good luck picking a favourite off an album this varied.