CD Review: Mounties – Thrash Rock Legacy

Mounties are one of those rare supergroups whose sum doesn’t diminish its parts.

If there’s a little hole in your life where the now defunct indie rock band Wolf Parade used to be, let me introduce Mounties, a new supergroup (the music world’s version of a Limited Edition Combo Pack) consisting of Hawksley Workman, Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, Fur Trade) and Ryan Dahle (Age of Electric, Limblifter) and their debut album, Thrash Rock Legacy.

Mounties are one of those rare supergroups whose sum doesn’t diminish its parts. There’s the frenetic whiplash energy of Bays, the ‘90s-indebted alt rock guitar of Dahle, and the weirdo, bravado swagger of Workman. I mention Wolf Parade not as a genre comparison, per se, but because the individuality of the various elements creates an indescribable aural chemistry that’s hard to match.

The album’s title is a little bit of a misnomer, as the music is far from anything resembling “thrash rock,” (unless you count some of Workman’s madman drumming on track “Minimal Effort”). In fact, it’s fruitless to try to pin down a genre or style that Mounties are trying to occupy. The record runs the field, from the power-pop of “If This Dance Catches On” to the shoegazey “Waking Up On Time,” to the deceptively joyous rock sing-a-long “Headphones” (“I got my headphones on from the minute I’m up till the minute I go to bed. I got my headphones on every day of my life, gonna wear ‘em until I’m dead!”) to the prog-jam “Guaranteed Blonde Enough.”

While many moments of the album point back to an analogue, sweat-fueled ‘90s brand of rock, it’s just too… weird and eclectic to be a throwback album. Too tongue-in-cheek. “Shoot ‘em up, boy, shoot ‘em up, boy” the gang harmonizes in a heavenly sounding reverie on “The Twig & the Tree,” contrasting the rather sinister tone of the lyrics with Bay’s bouncy keyboards and the playful call-and-response structure.

Because Thrash Rock Legacy definitely is a playful album, and it certainly sounds like its creators had a blast making it. Falsetto yelps, idiosyncratic drum fills, facetious lyrical play, super retro key plucks, it’s all here. And you can dunk this one anywhere.

Mounties play Spiritbar on March 24 with Rich Aucoin opening (pause for an unapologetic fanboy freakout). Wow, talk about a show.


This review originally appeared in {vurb}, the Nelson Star‘s weekly entertainment supplement.

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