Snapshot: War Mothers

In the artist’s words: War Mothers started during a midnight drive to the ocean. This was maybe a decade ago. I can’t remember who was in the car. I think it was the night we went to the diner we liked and found it was closed for good. Maybe not. Years later I spent all my money and went to Texas, but it didn’t change anything. I remember a story about two people leaving an evil chair on the front lawn. I used to think it was good to hang on to your memories but now I don’t feel the same.

In Ampeater’s words: War Mothers is a difficult artist to review because its music is so personal and its approach so counter-intuitive. The minimalist folk-pop due defies convenient labels and challenges us to reconsider our reflexive definitions of what it means to be in a band. No website. No Facebook. War Mothers forces listeners to approach its music on their own terms, free from preconceptions. No artifical image. No bullshit. The artist shares its personal email address and invites direct contact from intregued listeners. So feel free to jump straight to the music. The words that follow express no more than the author’s personal impressions.

War Mothers strikes an ideal balance between singer-songwriter and band. The music includes bursts of lush orchestration but remains rooted in the vocal melodies. Dylan SP’s expressive voice and wide dynamic range have earned him the obvious comparisons to Jeff Buckley. Like Buckley, Dylan can jump from plaintive whisper to soulful wail to angelic falsetto with expert precision and no hesitation. The unhurried pace of these gorgeous compositions underscores these dynamic shifts. At the softest moments, the accompaniment is sparse. The delicate strum of an acoustic guitar is the sole harmonic support on the first section of “I Wish You Were A Monster.” However, the track derives crucial force from the efforts of Barrett Lindgren. Additional layers of texture like the trill of banjo of the dark thud of contrabass swell up to accentuate dramatic moments throughout the compositions, but never take the foreground. War Mothers knows the proper value of peace and quiet. The artist’s brilliance is most evident not in the notes played but in the pauses between notes.

It’s no surprise that the artist began on a midnight drive. War Mothers provides the perfect soundtrack to space out to on a dark road, when all the other passengers are fast alseep and time slows to a drip, delineated only by the gradual tick of freeway exits leading nowhere.

I Wish You Were A Monster Wish You Were A Monster.mp3