Preview: The Young Mothers at Township Jan. 17
The night after I heard The Young Mothers debut record, I dreamt I discovered a new way to play the piano. My fingers were crouching down on the already-mostly-depressed keys, and I was just barely releasing little breaths of sound between each pounce and crunch. The fact that there’s no piano in the band makes perfect sense: as an audience member, I was trying to find someplace to put all the new rhythmic clusters I absorbed; the only answer was to sleep-generate a new technique on an additional instrument.
Their music is a fanfare. Anyone with ears is invited to the parade. Jonathan F. Horne plays guitar like he’s searing meat. The wind instruments (Jason Jackson on saxophones and Jawwaad Taylor on trumpet) flare in the air like fireworks marking a new epoch, not some measly annual holiday. And the rhythm section, Oh damn THIS is a RHYTHM section! They bounce with the nimble best yet build such thick foundations you know a beast is barely being contained. Ingebrigt Håker Flaten does it on acoustic and electric bass, while it requires two drummers to secure the fleet-footed multi-directionality of tempo and tone these Young Mothers engage: Frank Rosaly and Stefan Gonzalez (who also contributes vocals and vibraphonics).
Raw funk sits at the center of their music like Buddha on a bamboo leaf. When they add in staticky, pitched feedback fuzz and screaming horns, you realize you’ve got a full ensemble that both knows how to party, and knows how to behave smartly. No matter how deranged things might appear for a moment, you can hear the thinking that guarantees a smooth landing, no sinking. A bunch of fantastic guest musicians also make appearances on the album, and you can bet Mars Williams is thrilled to have this mostly Texan band in Chicago for a night, just for the chance to blow the stars back into place. Sitting and staring out of a window is a truth. So is breaking it, with your voice – in song, in frustration, in joy. All of the above.