Mother Tongues' 'Love in a Vicious Way' Is a Perfectly Cut Diamond

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 20, 2023

Mother Tongues play what loosely might be described as "psych rock" — but unlike the swaths of dreamy noise and drawn-out delay pedal jams that genre often evokes, Love in a Vicious Way is more like a perfectly cut diamond. The Toronto duo don't waste a second on their impeccable debut album, packing each moment with gorgeous hooks and refined sonic details.

Take the album's second song, "Dance in the Dark." The towering riffs of its intro hit with the force of stoner metal, but just 30 seconds in, they give way to an angelic refrain and watery phasers straight out of early Coldplay (which, to be clear, is a compliment — Parachutes still rocks).

They weave a gorgeous tapestry of genres across just 10 tracks: "Ode to Jay" is a lullaby-like instrumental that evokes a music box or an ice cream truck, while "Only You (Reprise)" — which comes before "Only You" in the tracklist, interestingly — borrows the low-pass filters and blippy arpeggiators of dance music. "A Heart Beating" and the motorik pulse of "Worm Day" are draped in Lukas Cheung's sublime new wave guitars, while "2 Luv 2 Liv" strips back the usual reverb on singer Charise Aragoza's voice, offering a clear-eyed account of moving on after a tragedy before the aching arrangement drifts into the ether with a finale of fragile Boards of Canada synths.

Mother Tongues have already been active for a number of years, signing a record deal (which never yielded a full-length) in 2019 and releasing an EP in 2020. They've clearly spent those years carefully crafting their sound, resulting in a fully-formed debut album that, at just half an hour in length, is a masterful mini opus.
(Wavy Haze)

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