>Supergroups! Don’t you just love their best-of-all-worlds approach to music? Well, no, not usually. Taking X guitarist and Y drummer from a number of big bands often equates to devastatingly bland groups like Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Asia and more recently, Velvet Revolver, who had all the bombast of all their respective mother groups, but with none of the tunes. I can’t even whistle any of the songs by The Good, The Bad and The Queen, who actually endeavoured to create something more than a mere vanity project out of their enticing Blur/Clash/Verve/Tony Allen combination.
None of this bodes well for Today’s New Band, Mongrel, does it? As the name bluntly insinuates, they’re comprised of musicians from all over the shop. The members and ex members of Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles, Reverend and The Makers, as well as ace producer-artists Adrian Sherwood, Jagz Kooner and Low Key that whelped Mongrel must have, at some point, sat in a room, and thought, “Perhaps this Supergroup thing might work this time, for us.”
And you know what? It does. Their music is one of those rare collaborative efforts where all the member’s respective influences are audible, blending craftily together to form something new, instead of fighting for prominence. Dub, indie and hip-hop sprawl around in Mongrel‘s tightly focused songs, and in some ways, each song is enjoyable merely because the sound works so well. The fact that the songs are good as well is the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake.
Better Than Heavy is a heavy, twanging and dubby lollop that is as inventive as it is fun, pinging form here to there without compromising any ideals. And song Barcode shouldn’t work. It just shouldn’t. No sane mind would try to make such desperate worlds collide, but Mongrel must be collectively crazy, because it sounds just right.
Political and angry in a time when most people are too bothered about the latest minutiae of Britney’s latest weight loss/gain too get angry about anything, let alone politics, Mongrel are a band that might not end up being loved by millions. The fact that all this was even possible should thrill even the most cynical heart, though. They are doing everything they can to make their voices heard, and great tunes, intelligent thoughts and a fierce determination are the best place to start. This is what they’ve got, in spades, so listen here, now!