If new music’s dead, MOURN have grieved the loss and moved on with their stellar second album Ha, Ha, He. The Catalonian band’s influences range from post-punk, to grunge, to English Literature (the penultimate ‘Irrational Friend’ takes its chorus, “Ha. Ha. He!” from William Blake’s ‘The Laughing Song’), and their music carries itself with an urgency and intensity reminiscent of PJ Harvey and Savages.
First track ‘Flee’ is a spiralling short-lived instrumental, re-enforcing the chaotic yet calm tone MOURN achieved with their self-titled debut LP, released in 2014. ‘Evil Dead’ delivers more of the band’s trademark attitude, rolling out over blasé bold guitar, whilst ‘Brother Brother’ investigates the “intricate puzzle” of growing up with a new sibling around. The band lament it “sounds like something’s missing” on third track ‘Howard’, but MOURN’s sound is still fleshy and full on during this catchy, slightly-poppier, song.
Mid-way through the record the cautiously named ‘The Unexpected’ provides three minutes of melancholic reflection. The sadly relatable lyrics are delivered with a forced calm, making this tragedy-laced track the most memorable offering on the album. Things perk up again with ‘Storyteller’ (which was released as a single earlier in the year) whilst the moody, wise lyricism on ‘Gertrudis Get Through This’ (also released as a single in 2015) will resonate with those looking to make smarter, less damaging romantic decisions.
‘President Bullshit’ is an acute, catchy observation on the political joke that “went too far”, whilst the excellently named ‘I Am a Chicken’ is laced with smooth, anaesthetising guitar and vocals, reluctantly revealing another universal fear: “you’re afraid of being alone, that’s why you feel so lonely now”.
‘Second Sage’ is followed by the superb ‘Irrational Friend’, which is instantly gratifying with more of MOURN’s trademark spiralling guitar sounds and shouted lyrics. Final track ‘Fry Me’ is the longest track on the album, ending the record on a spun-out but satisfied note. Ha, Ha, He. will appeal to fans of post-punk, grunge, or – quite simply – fucking great new music.
Ha, Ha, He. is released on 3 June via Captured Tracks.
Photo Credit: Alba Yruela