More Than Just Apparel
by: Ryan Waldis Follow Ryan on Twitter by clicking here Band: Mom Jeans.
Summer is always a magical time for the music scene. Festivals such as Firefly and Bonnaroo bring together thousands of like-minded people, bands join up to go on memorable tours and there’s always something fresh to listen to since albums are dropped weekly. We may only be a few weeks into the dog days, but the latest Mom Jeans. release may go down as one of the best albums of the season, if not the year.
Hailing from Berkeley, California, Mom Jeans. consists of Austin Carango, Bart Starr, Eric Butler, and Gabriel Paganin. The lyrics for their new album, Puppy Love, were written by Butler, while special appearances on the album were made by Brianda Goyos León, Sam Kless, and Brandon Downum. They produce modern emo/alternative punk-ish music, although they typically fall in a genre called sparklepunk. Butler has said that the origin of the name isn’t exactly special; both he and Austin just wanted to start a band and thought the name was funny.
photo courtesy of Counter Intuitive Records
The group officially released Puppy Love on Tuesday, July 3. The album, which includes 10 tracks and is under the Counter Intuitive Records label, is their sophomore follow-up to the well-received Best Buds, which hit streaming sites in 2016. Sophomore albums can often make or break a band; for every Favourite Worst Nightmare (Arctic Monkeys) there’s a Generation (Audio Bullys). Fortunately for the California-based quartet, Puppy Love easily falls on the positive side of the spectrum.
Puppy Love is definitely different from Best Buds, but it’s not a bad difference. Transitioning from the first Mom Jeans. album to the second, the vast improvement is extremely clear. The instrumentals are tighter, which help to produce much more catchy melodies. Butler’s vocal work was also markedly better; whereas in their debut album there were certain instances when he was almost forcing some notes, in Puppy Love his vocals are almost effortless and contribute to the crisp and rich sound of the record. Speaking of Butler, the lyrical work throughout the entire album is truly eye-opening and deserves a lot of praise.
On my first listen, the second half of Puppy Love stuck out to me much more so than the first half; as the kids today would say, the second half has a lot of “bangers.” After listening to each track a couple more times, though, I really warmed up to the first half of the album. The first song, “near death fail comp,” provides an almost mellow opening to the album before transitioning into one of my favorite songs, “sponsor me tape.” The latter of the two features an incredible opening consisting of drums and guitars that I imagine would sound amazing in a live setting.
The next two tracks, “glamorous” and “I left my towel,” kind of revert back to that mellow-ish tune, and really help the album transition well into the final six songs. The first of those six songs, “PT 2,” is another one of my favorites. Not even taking the instrumentals into account, I kept replaying the portion when the vocal melodies hit in unison and envisioned myself, once again, in a live setting singing the words right back to the group on stage. If you were only allowed to listen to one song over this final group of six, though, it would definitely have to be “Jon bong Jovi.” The guitars and drums entrance you almost instantly and combined with the lyrics the entire track is not only a perfect summer song but one of the best tunes Mom Jeans. has ever produced.
Mom Jeans. has drawn comparisons to bands like Modern Baseball and Oso Oso, but the more you listen to their content, the more you start to realize they have a really unique sound. The influences of the group range from Joyce Manor to the Gorillaz to A Day to Remember, but Mom Jeans. have certainly created a sound that is their own. Whether it’s because they’re in the sparklepunk genre or because of the trombone you can hear in multiple tracks, Mom Jeans. has a very identifiable sound which is in part how I became a big fan.
You can find Puppy Love on Spotify, Google Play and pretty much every major streaming platform. If you’re so inclined, you can also purchase the digital album on the band’s Bandcamp for $6.66 or more or purchase the vinyl version on the Counter Intuitive Records’ website.
The group recently announced a late-summer/early-fall tour, when they’ll be joining up with fellow California bands Just Friends (Pleasanton, CA), Awake But Still In Bed (San Jose), Shortly (Detroit) and Retirement Party (Chicago). More information can be found on their Facebook page and their website, momjeansband.com.
photo courtesy of Mom Jeans. website