Mother Mother‘s 7th studio album, Dance and Cry is the Vancouver band’s most personal and vulnerable effort to date. All 12-tracks on the record, written by lead singer Ryan Guldemond have an organic, stripped down sound, reminiscent of the bands earlier material including their iconic album, O My Heart. The purity of the record is conveyed not only in its sound but in the lyrics that are sung by Ryan and supported by the vocals of his band members Molly Guldemond (Ryan’s sister) and Jasmin Parkin.
“This album was written from a place of wanting to be moved, and wanting to move others. At a certain point of the writing process I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t pursue songs that didn’t either make me want to dance or cry, or ideally both. This ethos catalyzed a broader theme with regards to healing, and how feeling one’s pain and becoming truly intimate, loving and curious with it, is a crucial part of finding your way out of it”, says Guldemond, who began writing these songs in the fall of 2017 while going through a difficult breakup. To his taste, the initial material felt too morose, like a love lost album, which he didn’t want it to be; it is Mother Mother’s penchant to cover broader, more dimensional themes. To shake things up, Ryan took a trip to Costa Rica as a means to soul search and get inside the music in his head. It was there he found his creativity and individuality, returning to Vancouver to embark on a two- month writing spree, dedicating himself to a monastic lifestyle of meditation, clean living, exercise, and no media. As a result, his channels began to open up, and very honest, inspired songs followed.
In the album’s anthemic lead single, “Get Up” Ryan energetically sings, “you got dreams and you want to set them free, but you’re stuck there underneath them so get up.” The track came to be as a result of that fateful solo trip Ryan took to Costa Rica which acted as the launching pad for the entire record. Ryan recalls, “I found a remote spot on a beach and told myself I wouldn’t leave until a song appeared. Deep in the task I looked up to find I was being photographed. The photographer told me it was his hobby to capture people lost in things. We ended up having a long talk about potential, motivation, and following one’s dreams, which concluded with him essentially telling me to stop fucking around and get after mine. I then went back to my guitar and wrote the chorus to “Get Up” on the spot. He turned around and said ‘that’s a good nugget’.”
In keeping with the theme of self-reflection the song “It’s Alright” is an intimate look into one’s deep thoughts and internal struggle with guilt, shame and regret. In the track Ryan reveals, “I’m not alright, I’m not ok, I got a baseball bat beside my bed to fight off what’s inside my head to fight off what’s behind my meds…I’m lonely, lost in pain” as Molly and Jasmin respond in an assuring tone, “it’s alright, it’s ok, you’re not a monster, you’re just a human and you made a few mistakes.” The lyrics are raw and painful, while possessing a profound quality of consolation and hope; a full range of emotion mirrored by instrumentation that is richly dynamic and melodic.
Dance and Cry marks a new chapter for the band and their craft, one set to the beat of honesty and self-reflection. The albums artwork was created by the band member and artist-in-residence Molly Guldemond, who is responsible for all of Mother Mother’s creative design to date. The imagery of the artwork features two dancers in poses that evoke the all-too-familiar paradox of the human condition: darkness and light, sorrow and joy, dejection and exultation, themes that bind a sonically brave and adventurous album together.
Mother Mother is:
Ryan Guldemond: Vocals, Guitars, Keys, and Programming
Molly Guldemond: Vocals and Synth
Jasmin Parkin: Vocals and Keys
Ali Siadat: Percussion and Electronics
Mike Young: Bass