Music Video Review
By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
My first reaction to seeing Mother Mother's "The Stand" on MTV's Most Popular Videos feed was honestly WTF? And not because of the video's peculiar form. As hooky as Mother Mother songs are, there is no way to overstate the weirdness of the band itself. Most of that oddity is on display in "The Stand," from the clip's '80s sci-fi aesthetic to the song's conversational back and forth and, as always, the nasally, off-kilter vocals of siblings Ryan and Molly Guldemond. But should I be surprised?
The skewed perspective of "The Stand" is a wonder to behold, so completely confident in letting the freak flag fly that to resist it would be a mistake. Equally irresistible are the Guldemonds, who are so creepily well-synced it might not be too unrealistic to suggest they share a brain. Or are at least telepathic. "The Stand" configures itself as some kind of psychological examination where Ryan is the subject. Fielding questions from Molly and keyboardist Jasmin Parkin, who are made up like extras from a Lady Gaga video, Ryan's lyrics are made out to be neuroses and character tics that are displayed in shifting Rorschach blobs around him.
The clip is chic but minimalist, wisely sticking to a stark black and white palette before exploding in color and texture for the chorus and the appearance of the full band. In their signature way, Mother Mother don't go from verse to chorus to verse so much as they shift entire genres. The beginning is a heady mix of hip-hop and outre indie, the chorus more straightforwardly poppy and the next verse a psychedelic twang. If Girl Talk were an indie pop songsmith rather than a cut-up artist, it's easy to imagine he might sound something like Mother Mother.
The thing to remember is that in the early days of MTV, this is exactly the kind of video that would have been a hit. Before labels got wise and the network transformed itself first into a crassly commercial enterprise and then a home to constant proof of society's descent into reality tv hell, MTV brought British oddities to the masses on a daily basis. Mother Mother are Canadian, sure, but they hail from a province called British Columbia so let's not call it too much of a stretch to say that they're honoring that tradition by finding success on the network's website.