Life of Mammals press release reads “if you’ve ever imagined what a band influenced by Scott Walker, John Cale, Roxy Music, Jonathan Richman, DAF, dub, Robert Wyatt, post-punk and Krautrock might sound like, then you might finally have your answer. They’re called Museum Of Love and they’ve made what may well be 2021’s boldest album. ‘There’s house music in there, too,’ adds Pat Mahoney”
There is, in fact, house music in there too! Museum of Love is a duo composed of LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney, as co-writer and singer, and Dennis McNany, who started as an assistant engineer at Plantain Studios where the two met. Life of Mammals, having released earlier this month, is the second original full length album from the band and it seems to be as patently underrated as the first, sitting at around 50-150 views per track on the band’s official Youtube channel. (up from ~14 a few days ago)
The album is something of a hidden gem, albeit a touch weird (even for Krautrock listeners.) The production is fantastic and Mahoney’s singing is—-well it’s bombastic and it’s soulful and it’s also ‘a touch weird.’ The odd qualities unfold around the third track “Marching Orders” and encompass a series of quippy dance tracks, eighties era ballads, and dial-tone synths. Some of these tracks are even—sexy? Let’s just say Life of Mammals moves beyond strange originality into realms of delight, a mark of the duo’s musical skill. The quality and originality these two bring to their music is doubtless; the initial drum-loops and opening tracks are often quirky and almost sound generic, which produces assumptions that are promptly subverted by the instantly catchy and effortless array of instrumentation. Bluesy piano riffs, shredding guitar loops, warm bass lines, saxophone leads, synth arrays, and so on–many of which adorn a track for mere seconds. You’re not sure how or when it happened but suddenly you’re fully immersed. (and you like it?) Perfect examples of this quality are the tracks “Cluttered World,” “Ridiculous Body,” and “Hotel at Home.”
Not only is the musicality consistently on point, this ends up being a very interactive and fun listen; it’s a bit like something you might get from Ween but not as blatantly tongue-in-cheek and David Byrne?
Seriously though, this thing has Talking Heads influence from head to toe, and does it without appearing obvious or distasteful. If you’ve ever caught yourself in the car fully singing along to “Once in a Lifetime” while the passenger in the car next to you recorded their next viral Marco Polo, then you know exactly where I’m going with this. It’s hot and one could even say there’s a bit of a gap in music today where ‘The Talking Heads’ should go, and Museum of Love makes for quite the odd vintage bust of Daniel Johnston indeed to fill that niche. (Seriously, is the band’s name a Johnston reference or is it referring to the actual museum?)
Trivia!: “Museum of Love” is, as it happens, a Daniel Johnston reference! They’ve earned an extra 0.1 in the scoring for that, good for them!