Threepenny Thursday – Mother Mother’s “Getaway”

10 May

Welcome to Threepenny Thursday! This is the day I focus my razor lens of truth on everyday life, and wield my mighty warhammer of criticism against anything from the sandwich I made for lunch to the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Whether it is or it ain’t worth the three pennies in your pocket, I’ll letcha know.

In this, the first such installment that’s ever happened in history, we’re going to talk about one of my very favourite bands – Mother Mother – and a lil’ ditty of theirs that won’t quit knocking around in my skull: “Getaway”, from their latest album Eureka.

Ain’t it just dee-lightful?

There are other, more ear-catching tunes on this album; indeed, “Getaway” is easily missed during a run through Eureka from start to finish. But there’s something endearing about the Overlooked – they acquire none of the arrogance and pretension of the Popular, and even add an air of Exclusivity for those who are wise enough to acknowledge them. What I mean is, “Getaway” might just be better exactly because it’s overlooked.

I love its gauzy, languid tones. It’s clear that the instrumentation, especially the ukelele-flavoured guitar, is meant to evoke a lush tropical setting, and it’s true that this song is never better enjoyed than in the cozy confines of a summer sunbeam. What’s neat about it, though, is that  – and this is typical Mother Mother sneakiness – the surface “narrative” of the song, about a longing to escape “the silly things that haunt us”, may not be talking about Tahiti, exactly. In fact, I detect a slightly sinister undertone which suggests that the singer might want to swallow the hardest pill of all – an escape from life itself.

“Bow before me, acolytes! Shudder at my subtextual creepiness!”

Molly Guldemond, who grabs the lead vocal mic from her big brother (frontman Ryan Guldemond) is the real star here. Her buttery delivery, coupled with her naturally squeaky voice, drips out into a honey-sweet spread that transports me to the crashing waves of an Elysian beach. The vocal recording has an echoey quality, which makes me imagine her clutching one of those shiny 1940s jazz microphones, and at 2:54 she unleashes this gorgeous hanging note that shoots up and lingers in the air, like a skateboarder on an epic stall. Best of all, though, are the lyrics: if I wrote for days, I couldn’t come up with something as neatly-expressed and totally badass as

I could shoot/Into the sun

I could be the bullets of a gatling gun

Disappear/Another Dillinger on the run

I wanna get away from everything and everyone

…Just awesome.

I urge you to check out Eureka, as well as the rest of Mother Mother’s back catalog, if you’ve been somehow hogtied in a basement for the last four years and never heard of them. And remember to watch out for the innocuous tracks – they’re often the most satisfying of all.

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