Famous Mammals Instant Pop Expressionism Now! LP

Two years ago, Amber Sermeño (the WORLD, NAKED ROOMMATE), Stanley Martinez (RAYS, CHILDREN MAYBE LATER, also the WORLD), and Andy Jordan (a.k.a. ANDY HUMAN, also in the WORLD and one million other Bay Area bands) dropped a limited-run cassette as FAMOUS MAMMALS. It was an absolutely fantastic debut from an act that seemed to come out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. I’d assumed it was a throwaway project that just so happened to be great, but no. They’ve apparently spent the interim since that release going deeply method as a troupe of UK DIY musicians. This is no longer a Bay Area act pretending to be a band that grew up in high-rise flats above King’s Road or a council estate in Manchester—this is now that actual band. And the results are exceptional. If I hadn’t known the deal before going in, I’m sure you could convince me this album was assembled by some hitherto unknown, staunchly independent CRASS-like collective wed by a way of doing things rather than a particular output they’re striving for. The eighteen tracks on this record cover such a wide array of sounds and styles: a mix of early FALL discordant clang, “Lady Godiva’s Operation” grimy but gentle meandering, “Don’t Throw Ashtrays at Me!” noisy ambience, warbly They Could Have Been Bigger Than the Beatles dejected yet twee psychedelic rock, and stripped-down, talk-sung ballads that could be a cross between MARINE GIRLS and YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS; it’s hard to imagine this coming from just the three musicians. And while I just rattled off a ton of stuff this sounds like, I want to be clear that this is far from cosplay. The songwriting is so distinct and the execution (including what I would consider the perfect fidelity production) near flawless that you’ll have no doubt this is an original undertaking. Easily the best record I’ve heard all year.