Album #38: Mush – 3D Routine

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Leeds, England
  • Label: Memphis Industries
  • Best Track: Gig Economy

Sounding more like they’re from the sun-drenched suburbs of California or Texas than the cold and damp expanse of West Yorkshire, Mush’s debut is one I’ve been looking forward to. I really liked their Induction Party EP last year – a bit lo-fi and rough around the edges perhaps, but that’s no bad thing.

What we have here is certainly a development of that, with tight and intricate songs and much more of a political side than I expected. There were hints at the band’s leanings on last year’s EP, such as the great ‘Litvinenko‘ about the poisoned former Russian FSB officer. Just looking at track names on here though, we have ‘Island Mentality’, ‘Poverty Pornography’ and ‘Hey Gammonhead!’, all of which nail the band’s colours pretty firmly to the mast in a post-Brexit Britain flirting heavily with the far-right.

The band often use the Pavement or Parquet Courts-style technique of letting tracks rumble on longer than is really necessary, particularly the nine-minute closer ‘Alternative Facts’, but it works! The jarring, dissonant rhythms are arty and interesting, and somehow get lodged in your brain with each repetition. The quickfire, verbal assaults work pretty well too, especially ‘Revising My Fee’ (an anthem for ‘Generation Rent’) and ‘Gig Economy’. Not hard to work out which political party they’re directing their ire at with lyrics like “weak from this austerity, I plant my magic money tree”.

The best putdown is reserved for Morrissey though – “He’s rubbing shoulders with Tommy and the yobs/Squats and takes a shit on his whole back catalogue.” Without doubt an early contender for lyric of the year.

If I’m being ultra-critical, Dan Hyndman maybe overdoes it a little at times with his goofy, undulating singing – particularly on ‘Coronation Chicken’ and ‘No Signal in the Paddock’ where it distracts slightly from the music – but his vocals mostly complement the spiky melodies well. As debuts go, 3D Routine is focused, themed and an impressive work, in these distinctly unimpressive times.

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