- by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2016-06-03 Label:
Some two years since dropping their ferociously feisty debut, the Barcelona based Mourn has returned on schedule with their tremendous follow-up Ha, Ha, He, an album that swiftly dismisses any notion of a sophomore slump. While Mourn frontwoman Jazz Rodríguez Bueno may have initially drew some rather flattering (and well deserved) comparisons to Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey, the real magic of their debut was the sheer youthful audacity and recklessness with which the band punched and kicked its way through each and every track.
And with good reason, as the entire band were still in their teens at the time. Now two years to most adults may seem to pass without much notice, but when you are 18, two years can literally be the difference between a teen-pop phase and discovering Minor Threat. And while the kids have clearly grown up a bit, the spirit and snarl of their debut is very much still present on Ha, Ha, He.
The album picks up right where their debut left off, with the frenetic stutter-stop of “Flee” serving as a defacto overture for the proceedings. The swaying stomp of “Evil Dead” and the tuneful flow of “Brother Brother” demonstrate that Ha, Ha, He is in no way simply a retread of their debut. The Fugazi-esque echoes of “Howard” and the four-on-the-flour pace of “President Bullshit” further reinforce that Mourn has added a whole new set of weapons to their arsenal. While the album’s brevity may initially betray its depth, repeated listens reveal a confident collection of tunes that cover some pretty ambitious ground.
I would venture to say that the biggest challenge for a band this young is the inevitable ‘...for their age’ that is sure to follow just about any positive opinion evoked. And the fact that Mourn manages to sidestep just about any such qualifiers is an accomplishment unto itself. It's bands like Mourn that remind us of the potency of youth, and while one should never discourage growth or maturity, it’s perhaps the ultimate testament to the band that the feeling Ha, Ha, He invokes most strongly is the desire for the band to never grow up.
Very hyperactive especially on the shorter tracks. Thought it was good if not a bit one dimensional. As always, a thoughtful review.
Thanks Rob! The future is bright for these young whippersnappers.