By Kieran Graulich
“Punk” and “indie rock” are two labels that have been thrown around a lot recently, especially with the rise of the DIY at-home guitarist in the wake of garage rock superstars like Jack White and the Black Keys. As a result of this easy access, the genre has become saturated; the floodgates have opened and the internet has been inundated with thousands of identical copies of the next indie rock heroes. In 2015, it’s hard to be an indie punk band. When your genre has gone from a revolution to a dime a dozen, it’s hard to bring anything new to the table.
This is where Mourn comes in. In 2014, the four teens from Barcelona recorded their self-titled debut in a mere two days. The result is a moody, angst-ridden breath of fresh air. The album art itself is a perfect representation of the atmosphere – grey, cloudy and angsty. Musically, Mourn plays a familiar game, with punchy drums, jangly guitars, and poppy indie-girl hooks. It is not their blueprint, but their teen-punk attitude that makes them so refreshing to the indie rock scene. Think “Bleach”-era Nirvana, with frontwoman Carla Perez Vas playing a female Kurt Cobain.
Even on the band’s gentler moments, such as the bittersweet “Your Brain is Made of Candy,” Perez Vas’ words are a slap in the face. Even when they aren’t insulting the texture of someone’s brain, Mourn maintains a refreshing level of energy for the album’s short duration. The album becomes even more fun to listen to as you see the band become as peppy as they are angry. The lyricism, like all great punk rock, is a middle finger. “Marshall,” for example, features Perez Vas’ shouting, “When will you shut up, Marshall?!” You can’t help but smile.
However, their raw energy and pop appeal do not stop Mourn from occasionally falling into some all too familiar traps for indie punk. For every shot of energy, there is a filler track. Songs like “Squirrel” and “You Don’t Know Me” just don’t sound like the band at all, and sound more like whining than the primal punk yell they want to establish. Even then, their style is second-hand indie rock: Joan Jett’s vocal, the Pixies’ energy, Cloud Nothing’s guitars. However, one must bear in mind that in the eyes of the music world, Mourn are still children; one advantage of their age is that they have all the time in the world to develop a sound that is all their own. And when, at such a young age, they’re further along and done more than the vast majority of bands in their genre, Mourn seems to have a very bright, angsty future ahead of them.
Kieran Graulich is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org