Mothers | The Lexington | 17 August
Photo credit: nestingbehavior.com/nashrood.com
“It’s not that sad,” smiles Kristine Leschper after opening Mothers’ set with what sounds very much like a sad song. “It’s really a love song.”
During the next hour, such unexpected revelations keep coming. Musically unpredictable, the band’s frequent and surprising time changes transform mood and intensity from one moment to the next, as Leschper’s unique voice, equally capable of defiance and fragility, keeps pace. Her lyrics too are at once intimate and empowered, their directness cutting through the complex arrangements.
Take ‘Lockjaw’, a highlight of tonight’s performance and Mothers’ debut album ‘When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired’. Shifting from strummed guitar, subtle drumming, and hushed vocals (“I was a napkin in the rain”) to a thunderous instrumental rumble, back to a quiet denouement with Leschper unflinchingly declaring: “I cut out my tongue/ Seeing yours would speak/ For the both of us”.
Even more powerful is ‘It Hurts Until It Doesn’t’. An uptempo jangle it gives drummer Matthew Anderegg, guitarist Drew Kirby, and bassist Chris Goggans a real workout while Leschper’s bold falsetto belts out lines like “I was crushed by the weight of my own ego” – until suddenly becoming a dirge, long enough for the singer to quietly confess: “I don’t like myself/ When I’m awake.”
But The Lexington audience do. Instead of the usual chatter, even at the back of the venue there’s a hushed silence during these songs that simply won’t be ignored. Despite lyrics like “This is me mouthing words to you/ From the longest distance”, the powerful ‘Copper Mines’, especially, refuses to fade into the background.
It’s surpassed only by crushing set closer ‘No Crying In Baseball’ which steadily builds to an all-out indie-rock jam – and then, with all the confidence of a band who thrive on creating the unexpected, stops abruptly.