"The Mutants take to the underworld to plot and scheme with their network of punks, hippies, dandies, rude boys, lowlifes and degenerates to hatch a diabolical plan to bring freedom and danger back to the airwaves." So reads the press blurb accompanying 'Your Desert My Mind', the third album from UK's The Mutants. What a tagline! What a manifesto! As if that alone wasn't enough to whet the appetite and stir up enough pre-listening intrigue, this "fearless trio" have hooked up with an impressive roster of diverse and esteemed players for their follow-up to last year's sophomore outing, 'Tokyo Nights'. So, joining Chris Constantinou (The Wolfmen, Sinead O’Connor, Adam Ant), Rat Scabies (The Damned) and Paul Frazer (from Black Futures, although has also worked with The Prodigy and Skindred among many others) are musicians from Eagles of Death Metal, Masters of Reality, Mojave Lords, Dandy Warhols, and Throw Rag, as well as Victoria Williams.
Too many cooks? Most definitely, but in the most positive of ways. Listening to 'Your Desert My Mind', it seems to be axiomatic that The Mutants want their broth spoilt, disturbed, and spiced by the diversity of talent they've succeeded in attracting to their latest recordings. I hate cross-comparing music, as much as I despise cross-comparing my own reviews... but I've preceded my review of The Mutants by writing about two generic (albeit very competent) blues rock albums. Comparatively, this album is like a blast of fresh air and, taken on its own merits, is also like a burst of filth-ridden sonics exploding from the underground in its fusion of punk, new wave, surf, garage and ska elements... and beyond... in fact, some blues idioms even rear their head, but have been appropriated in the most original of ways.
For me, 'Your Desert My Mind' is all about illusory paradoxes that are actually not really paradoxes at all, but part of the artistic fabric of The Mutants music. The album offers up diversity between songs although is simultaneously bound together by its overall feeling, and that feeling is rooted in the music's brooding, yet somehow also uplifting, atmospheres. A general "don't give a fuck" attitude runs through the music's veins, yet it's so competently performed and with enough hooks that The Mutants evidently did give a fuck. It sounds like it's from a bygone era, yet is also loaded with contemporary relevance. It's where a modern mindset of retro expectations and recycled musical motifs or yore are confounded by enough originality as to debunk judgements of mere pastiche.
To be honest, 'Your Desert My Mind' took a good four or five listens all the way through before I started fully engaging with its core aesthetic. I liked what I heard first off - predominantly for its difference and musical ambiguity - but it's most definitely a grower that needed a few plays before I was able to fully appreciate its charms. And the charms are aplenty. The Mutants live up to their name here, with twelve cuts of mutated musical intrigue. Well worth checking out. And I'd love to see the pigeon-holing brigade try to categorise this!
YOUR DESERT MY MIND
Review by Mark Holmes
14th Oct 2016
1) Your Desert My Mind
2) Post Everything Blues
3) Fidgety; 4) Vultures
5) The Final Hand
6) Night Bus to Krakow
7) Night Bus to Krakow (The Return)
8) Lucky One
9) Always Know Where Your Water Is
11) Machismo Postura
12) Distant Light
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"The Mutants live up to their name here, with twelve cuts of mutated musical intrigue."