JUST MUSTARD – ” Heart Under “

Posted: May 13, 2022 in MUSIC

It’s been a long four years since Irish band Just Mustard released their debut album, “Wednesday”, that featured an alluring mix of shoegaze, trip hop and post-rock. The band are finally back, with their first album for Partisan Recoprds which they produced themself. (David Wrench of audiobooks, who’s worked with everyone from Hot Chip to FKA twigs, mixed it.) First single “Still” sounds great and before the album’s out North America will get to hear more of the album live when they tour with Fontaines DC.

the band from Dundalk, Ireland found themselves on an upward arc. in 2018 Just a year earlier, they’d released their debut album “Wednesday“, an album of darkly hazy noise pop and post-punk that over the course of a year built up a cult following—one that spread thousands of miles from their backyard in Ireland. Only one year earlier, they had begun playing shows in other parts of the British Isles, and by early 2019, they were playing major festival stages and opening for gothic rock icons The Cure. To date, they’re still sold out of copies of “Wednesday“.

What comes next is a frustrating and familiar story; Just Mustard had accomplished over the prior 18 months, then Covid-19 pandemic left the group with nothing but time. The band had already begun mapping out their sophomore full-length album, one that had initially been conceived as a record intended to be experienced in the dynamic arena of the live stage, but without that element to focus on, the group instead found them challenging themselves in the studio, shaping their sound in more meticulous if sometimes subtle ways, and pushing themselves toward peak performance.

“There was stuff we were writing that was really hard to play, and is still hard to play, but we did want to push ourselves lane-wise a bit out of our comfort zone,” says guitarist David Noonan. “I kind of write stuff that’s a bit beyond it, but I can figure that out later.”

The end result, “Heart Under” will be the group’s first album for Partisan Records—it’s an album rich in atmosphere and eerily tense. Noonan and Mete Kalyon’s guitars ebb and screech over the taut rhythmic pulse of drummer Shane McGuire and bassist Rob Clarke, with vocalist Katie Ball finding a haunted middle ground between cool detachment and expressive melancholy. There’s an unmistakably gothic sensibility on standout songs such as “Still,” which tap into the kind of ominous tension of The Cure in their early years (and thus a natural fit to share the stage with the legendary band) and a hypnotic sonic element that leans more heavily into the more experimental side of shoegaze.

As friends, longtime musical collaborators and even roommates, the members of Just Mustard are all on the same frequency and they use that sense of harmony between them to build something uniquely their own.

“We kind of think of it as a world we’re creating,” Ball says. “If [listeners] are able to feel as if they’re immersed in that world, that’d be cool.”

due 27th May via Partisan Records

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