Fiery powerhouse release by Belfast punk trio blasts eardrums into eye sockets.
Mob Wife’s dynamism and unpredictability sets them apart from the norm with their outward looking approach, and one that’s been expanded upon since their 2018 debut single ‘Warm Water’. The Belfast three piece share inspiration from the likes of Metz, Jawbox, Pile and Unwound as they traverse the serrated edges of modern life by cranking tension between hope and nihilism.
When Covid hit in 2020, Mob Wife had a newfound freedom from work and social life to allow the ideas across Eat With Your Eyes to gestate and form. This, along with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, created an opportunity for the trio to rehearse more than they ever had.
The opening track of the album: ‘Cutting Teeth on Suburban Curbs’ takes us on an instant-trip through an immense guitar-driven ride. Get prepared to teleport to California’s west coast with this steady and heavy introduction to Eat With Your Eyes. Frontman Chris Leckey describes the song lyrics to be a “dizzying realisation of the amount of time wasted in life, and the anxiety and depression that comes alongside it”.
The new album came together organically over a period of five months. The 10 track release was recorded soon after by their bassist, and acclaimed producer in his own right – Carl Small at Start Together Studio in Belfast, which was later mastered by Matthew Barnhart.
It’s an album that cracks open and delves into each facet of the band, both sonically and thematically. The album artwork was designed by Thérèse Tynan, and mirrors the fusion of sounds from Eat With Your Eyes beautifully. The suburban-cityscape collage is reminiscent of Barcelona based collage artist Rebeka Elizegi, or master of the art Hannah Höch.
At the heart of tracks such as ‘…And His Healthy Plastic Sons’ and ‘Wrist’ is the crushing influence of Metz and At The Drive-In, meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, more muted numbers reveal subtly-felt emotional notes hit on by songwriting greats, like Jason Molina & Rick Maguire’s Pile.
Mob Wife drummer Wilson Davidson provides the thump and crash-spill we all desire from any noise rock/punk band. The track ‘Hungry Ears’ slips into relentless fills and drum breaks, leaving us in a trance, whilst entering a whirlwind of heavy bottom end, that seems perfectly endless.
The myriad of guitars on the track ‘Mr.Pipes’ is like a bouncy ball ready to explode at any given time. Riffs trickle and transport us to midnight beachy scenes, which are dripped in distorted-to-clean fuzzy overdrive. Throughout Mr. Pipes singer Chris Leckey declares: “Live to be 65!…. Born in 1955!” – spat out in pure-rage, like a carousel of inner-thoughts revealed through staggered time; a continuous theme throughout this album and a scope into the personal strains of addiction.
Poignant album closer ‘The Dinner Lady, The Driver and The Fire’ doesn’t address any particular subject or theme, rather tells a story (a true story from a couple years ago in nearby Lisburn) or an elderly couple deciding to take their own lives together in a burning car which features the incredible voice of Cork’s Elaine Malone on vocals in the role of the wife.