Mush – ‘3D Routine’ album review

Mush 3D Routine

Mush’s new album ‘3D Routine’ has already received praise from the likes of DIY, Louder than War, The Line of Best Fit and seen the band played on shows on 6 Music, Radio 1 and Radio X. It comes ahead of a tour with Roxy Girls.

Tackling many of the issues we’re facing as a society today (just look at the song titles – ‘Eat the Etiquette’, ‘Island Mentality’, ‘Hey Gammon Head’, ‘Gig Economy’…), the band take their anger and frustration and forge something positive out of it – giving a voice to so many who feel alienated by ‘our’ government’s decisions… ‘Revising My Fee’, a song about always being in debt, opens the record with jaunty guitar hooks and incisive words. Imagine a jam session between Life and XTC and you’re halfway there. ‘Eat the Etiquette’ veers more into art pop with tangled melodies you’ll want to shuffle along to and stream-of-consciousness, pacily delivered lyrics. ‘Existential Dread’ fits somewhere between the modern wave of guitar bands and classic Britpop acts like Supergrass, especially with its line in knowing surrealist humour: ‘I take my coffee with existential dread’.

‘Coronation Chicken’ is Mush’s take on the recent Tory leadership ‘contest’ and the attitudes of those ‘born-to-rule’ Etonians who have ‘the intuition to hide your position’. Over yacht rock-meets-Pavement-style guitars, they also mention a politician who has a face that is ‘a gift to a satirical cartoon’. Can you guess who? ‘Island Mentality’ continues in this vein with ‘dirtier’ guitar riffs and chants of ‘Britannia’ and ‘we’ve got the culture: island! island!’ There’s another change in direction as the band veer into Yo La Tengo territory complete with clap-along riffs and cheeky hooks, although the message about the unfair treatment many will face remains important: ‘Cue the injustice for all my friends and all the addicts’. The brilliantly titled ‘Hey Gammon Head’ would sit alongside Sports Team as the band talk about ‘snowflakes’ and fascists being drenched in milkshake and how the attitude has changed now so that many believe ‘there’s nothing wrong with a little white lie’. However, they also deliver the caveat that ‘everyone was hurting, even the gammon too’.

The title track has a fine and potent John Squire-style guitar solo to open and contains observations on fake news, misinformation and the misnomer that is ‘common sense politics’. ‘Poverty Pornography’ captures the spirit of ‘Popscene’-era Blur with plenty of energy and enthusiasm and shouts of ‘Poverty Pornography? I don’t get it’ and ‘Let them eat chips’. The penultimate ‘No Signal in the Paddock’ is drenched in extra layers of fuzz and distortion while the closing nine-minute (nine!) ‘Alternative Facts’ is a rally agains fake news: ‘They’ll paint their own truth and bury it in fiction and alternative facts’. The band then look back on how you used to ask questions and they’d be responded to with silence – not the case now, where so many in powerful positions have their own ‘truths’ and agendas.

A vital album for the tumultuous times we’re currently living in, Mush’s latest record is anything but routine.

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