Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Mules @ Cargo, 27 February 2007

The Mules aren’t your average post-punk band. Sure, they have that classic rhythmic spiky guitar sound on a lot of their tracks, but honestly, that’s the least interesting part about them.

On one hand they mess around with the post-punk formula quite a lot, particularly betraying their roots as a more folk-country outfit. So they chuck in mad fiddling, crazy drumming, rock ‘n’ roll piano, odd synth riffs and a certain frenetic energy and joi de vivre that puts a gulf between then and the legions of young identikit post-punk bands, desperately wanting to prove that they really were into Gang of Four and Pere Ubu like, since they learned to walk.

On the other hand, they embrace the true post-punk spirit of experimentation. Apart from the above concoction of styles, they even manage to throw in curveballs like Live Feed, which is almost a soul tune. This both confounds their own assertion that they favour rhythm over melody, and showcases singer Ed Seed’s fine voice to even greater effect. They’re also a talented bunch that like to step outside their comfort zones. So Ed, though primarily a guitarist, takes up drumsticks. Fiddler Nico was originally in jazz bands and synth and piano player Tim works rehearsing singers at the National Opera Studio. Half the band also indulge their quieter, more melodic side in Fireworks Night (previously blogged on the Daily Growl).

Good though the record sounds, the best place to experience The Mules is live. Here you really get the full effect of their frantic energy, centred on Ed Seed as he sits front-centre stage, thrashing away at his drumkit with increasing speed as the set progresses and knocking away the vocal mic just at the wrong moment (surely an occupational hazard of being a singing drummer). They’re both tight and gloriously ramshackle. Tuesday night was the second time I’ve seen them, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Here’s a couple of tracks from their album Save Your Face. I’m slightly confused by its availability. I thought it was out last year (their label’s website suggests it was), but their PR says it’s out on X March. Whenever, check it out.

Download: The Mules – Save Your Face
Download: The Mules – Ham Shank

The album is followed a few weeks later by the single We’re Good People, which though not the best tune on the album, does get a couple of decent remixes – one of which is from Brazillian wunderkids CSS. It sounds like what you might imagine a CSS remix of The Mules might sound. It’s posted here for a very limited time – after which you’ll need to buy it!

Download: The Mules – We’re Good People (CSS remix)

Apologies for the slightly rubbish live photo. My camera ran out of juice after three snaps.


Dainon said...

Dude, the remix is "no longer found." What gives? Rocking song ...

Wes. said...

4 days is very limited!

The Daily Growl said...

Sorry guys - I was asked (very nicely) to take the file down by the Mules' management, and being the obliging sort, I did. You can still listen to it here: