Album: Museum of Love – Life of Mammals review

by Philip Moss

With very little in the way of musical boundaries, Life of Mammals is a wonderful introduction to the crazy world of Museum of Love

Eclectic (adjective) – deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

You only have to play the first three songs from Museum of Love’s second album, Life of Mammals, to realise that the US pair do not adhere to limitations.

Opening track, Your Nails of Grown, is eight minutes of a repetitive rhythm – Pat Mahoney’s voice, which sits just atop the chugging drone, recalls Lou Reed at his most gloriously disinterested. But from the monotony comes moments of searing brass that rattle past your ears like a rampant Subway carriage. Yes, they are flashes, but out of the eerie darkness, they feel exhilarating.

But the title track, Life of Mammals, is like the opening of a window, as all the claustrophobia of the opener is released. Pat Mahoney, doing his best impression of Scott 4-era, Scott Walker, unleashes a mesmerising croon – backed by bright percussion and choral swells. And for those that recognise the name, Mahoney is a founding member of one of New York’s most special bands, LCD Soundsystem – and it makes total sense on Marching Orders, which piles all the groove you’d expect from the most danceable of James Murphy’s work – with more than a smattering of Talking Heads at CGGBs – into the record’s third track.

The liberal attitude towards genre continues throughout the rest of the album too. Dennis McNany’s synth heavy backing track on Cluttered World is lit up with Aladdin Sane piano flurries. Before Ridiculous Body makes it all but impossible to guess what will pop up next, or where the pair’s arrangements are headed.

After bringing their self titled debut out on DFA Records in 2014, Life of Mammals has been released from the newly reinvigorated Skint imprint – and joining their wide ranging roster, it feels like the perfect home for this fun, quirky, challenging and uncompromising LP.

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