Mouses – ‘The Mouses Album’

By Matthew Wilson

Duos are definitely seeing a revival in today’s scene. Less members means less overheads, less gear and less potential band member drama; but just plug yourself into a few pedals, turn up the gain and get your drummer to smash those skins and you’ll be making as much of a racket as a full on five piece. With buckets of excitement and skittish energy, Teeside’s two-piece Mouses have emerged with their debut album, ‘The Mouses Album’; ten songs of blistering garage-punk from the North East of England.

It’s a chaotically playful mish-mash of various musical styles, with the lo-fi fuzz guitar tones helping it to fit in with the recent trend of garage bands that have been coming across the Atlantic in the form of FIDLAR, Ty Segall and Bass Drum Of Death. Mouses manage to match their trans-Atlantic contemporaries in energy and relentless hooks, like how Nathan Duff’s manic drumming propels early album cut ‘Algebra’ along, whilst vocalist and guitarist Ste Badgett’s repeated howl of “it’s crazy, but it’s not quite algebra” worms its way into your mind.

There’s a little bit more to their sound though, and it mainly comes through in Badgett’s ultra-nasal voice. Saturated and clipping constantly throughout the album, it calls to mind Julian Casblanca’s tones that dominated the early-noughties airwaves. As much as Mouses tap into the current garage rock revival trend, the influence of bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes cast a long shadow over the album, the playfulness of the latter mixing with the undeniable cool of the former. It’s a welcome change of pace and allows Mouses to carve out their own niche in this genre.

Whether it’s on the distorted scratchy harmonic break on opener ‘Girl’, ‘Hollywood’’s sub two-minute run time that threatens to fall apart at the seams, or the heavily-Strokes influenced recent single ‘Green’ – which sounds like it’s coming at you direct from ‘Room On Fire’ – Mouses demonstrate a willingness to just jam the hell out and push themselves musically in a whole host of different directions. ‘The Mouses Album’ is a strong opening statement for a band with oceans of potential and an almost gravitational pull to make being weird cool again.

MATTHEW WILSON

Three more album reviews for you

River Becomes Ocean - 'A Motion Paralysed'

Reel Big Fish - 'Life Sucks... Let's Dance!'

Palisades - 'Erase The Pain'