NYC alternative quartet Mustardmind is releasing its second double-single today, of which “The Clause” is one-half. Apart from soundcloud, these songs will be available on iTunes and Spotify for streaming, and the physical copies will be made available by way of black fortune cookies with all upcoming show information inside. How’s that for branding, huh? You can also catch them at their release show for the second track at Arlene’s Grocery on December 1. In any case, don’t let me keep you reading instead of listening – click play!
I gotta say, the production value on this one is super shiny. The bass hits all the right parts of my chest / back of my skull, guitar textures feel intentional and well-designed, and the vocal presence is just where it should be. The track opens with a heavily distorted snare tone that becomes much less so as the rest of the drums enter the picture and we’re treated to guitars and bass. I don’t have a full copy of the lyrics in front of me, but my gist is that the hook is “I miss the fine print in the clause”; there’s definitely something contractual here (ha), but it’s hard to get a good sense of context or importance. At some points, the lyrics sound like Bobby is singing about personal struggles (“I just found out that the universe can’t be a friend to me” [..] “as a result, I am only at war with my tendencies, and that fight will eat up all my time”), but things are left sort of hazy as far as the listener is concerned. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the track is the juicy synth tone they got at The Joint Recording. If I had one nit to pick with “The Clause,” it would have to be that it toes the line of hyper-similarity with some of my favorite Radiohead tracks (“Optimistic,” “Ideoteque,” “Bodysnatchers”; plucky side-panned and layered guitar riffs that are rhythmically staggered with the bassline, deliberately-played deep bass tones, mysterious synth and distorted guitar bits). I really like this change in direction, though – Mustardmind should certainly keep messing around with modulated percussion and dank synth tones as well as pleasingly variegated song structures.