Since 2013, Kristine Leschper has been writing and performing under the moniker Mothers, attracting a small but fiercely devoted ring of admirers in her hometown of Athens. Last year, the trajectory of her music changed becoming increasingly more dynamic and complex, and her solo project soon expanded into a full-fledged band featuring Matthew Anderegg on drums, Drew Kirby on guitar and Patrick Morales on bass. The group’s first proper single, the emotionally empowering and feverish “No Crying in Baseball,” earned them some well-due attention from the blogosphere, but as it turns out, the track was also a bit of a decoy.
According to a recent feature in Stereogum, Mothers’ debut LP, due out sometime in 2016 and recorded by Drew Vandenberg (Of Montreal, Deerhunter, Toro y Moi), will feature a more discordant sound, one that brandishes elements of post-hardcore and math rock while presumably maintaining the spirit of the off-kilter art rock they’ve been unveiling up until now. With that said, it’s unclear whether the band’s latest single, “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t,” will appear on their debut or whether it’s another stylistic outlier meant to purge any traces of their formative songwriting approach before hitting the public with more trenchant material in the future. In any case, the track, and in particular Leschper, are a revelation.
Although the song glides dexterously from passage to passage, there’s something of Wire’s jagged melodicism and Protomartyr’s clenched-fist dramatics that infect it with a feeling of revolt and inner turmoil. Leschper’s distinct voice is elastic enough but what impresses me the most is the way in which she stretches and pulls it into a hardened coil that turns even the simplest of phrases into a moment fraught with existential upheaval. “I felt your love for a little while / But never had the guts to give myself up / I said that I could be just what you wanted / As if I could ever keep a promise” she sings in the second verse, but is she feeling wounded about her loss? Or is her self-awareness a mark of her power and resiliency? The truth is likely somewhere in between, and by deftly walking that emotional tightrope, Leschper is able to pull the song’s conflicted tension behind her like a dark and ominous cloud.
As I said above, “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” is a revelation. And much like a failed relationship or crippling self-doubt, it’s one where the effects linger long after it’s over. Listen below.
“No Crying In Baseball” b/w “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” is available via Grand Jury Music. Grab it now on iTunes.