Thing of the Day
Sicily's MASHROOMS release a rather impressive self-titled album...
March 21st 2011
MASHROOMS – Mashrooms (Wild Love) – A new name to us; there really is a certain pleasure in having the music of a band you’ve never heard of turn up unexpectedly in the post, and turn out to be as uncluttered and enjoyable as this.
Seems Mashrooms have been around doing their chosen musical thing since 1999. They describe themselves as a five piece rock orchestra, and that's a reasonable description. A little more than just another post rock band here, quite a lot of musical shape-shifting going on; right now they sound rather folksy in a Sicilian kind of way, a minute ago it was rather alt.rock in a North American Slintish manner, now they’ve gone all obtusely avant-rock angular... most of the time they deal in delicately experimental orchestral compositions, finely detailed tunes referring to the post rock canon. None of it is that obvious - Mashrooms' sound is always fluid, there’s a cohesive flowing sense to this well recorded body of subtle work.
This self titled nine track album may not be that radically different to a lot of post-rocky things that have already been and gone, but Mashrooms do have a pace and flow of their own, a satisfying variety of flavours and angles in the way the sound constantly moves on. They shift to slightly different feels or flavours without that change of mood ever being awkward or jarringly obvious. Right now they’re quietly busy getting all rather orchestral in a stripped-down minimal kind of way – post rock flavoured strings playing with notions of composition and taking things a little past what is now seen as the post-rock norm ...now they’ve gone really progressive, bits of Upsilon Acrux style avant experimentation flowing by, experiments that subtly work as they blend once more towards a serene From Monument To Masses feel, (From Monument To Masses sound like they may just be a major influence here actually – the rolling easiness on the ear combined with the filmoid spoken word sound bites, far less pretentious though, none of that so-serious self-importance From Monument sometimes seemed to have). And just as you think Mashrooms have settled into that groove, there’s another subtle movement and time switch as off they flow again, this time towards a restrained twitching and twisting, then as suddenly as it started, almost without you noticing, it stops and they head towards calmer musical waters once more. The changes are always subtle, the sound is very easy, understated, mellow in a cleverly complex and always enjoyable way.
Mashrooms are an experimental ensemble, a quietly unassuming band who never fail to interest - their appreciation of light and shade, of cleverly shifting things, the flowing moments of genuinely avantness, the little details that give way to vocal lines and musical colours that, on occasions, become almost conventional alt.rock songs before they head off running with classical piano lines or strings.. Classical yet always subtle, nothing heavy or bombastic, Mashrooms are cleverly relaxing, they’re soothing, very easy on the ear - not one of those quiet/loud kind of post rock bands. The bits of political speech dropped in to their very tuneful soundscapes are never too imposing, never too obvious, nothing about Mashrooms is too obvious. This is a refreshing album, an easy album, a very very enjoyable album; they say they are radically affected by the chaos, the rage and ongoing social movements of the community, in Sicily, where the project was born. No chaos or rage here though, just a very enjoyable, often classical, sometimes genuinely progressive and always pleasant post rock album.
Mashrooms is released on April 15th 2011