On sale 9am 4th March.
‘Heart Under’, Just Mustard’s second album and first for Partisan Records, is an album that asks you to forget what you know. At every turn, this remarkable record reconfigures and stretches the ideas and ambition of a rock band, and turns a year of lockdown and personal struggles into a breathtaking artistic statement.
The music the five friends from Dundalk, Ireland make is strikingly untraditional. Though to look at them, it appears that the band are a five-piece with uniform make-up of a vocalist, two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer, not a single one of them utilizes their instrument in a confined or regular fashion. Guitarists David Noonan and Mete Kalyoncuoglu make their six-strings shriek and wail, the sounds produced sounding like everything from whirring machinery to horror movie monsters. On the introduction to the dark and dangerous ‘Seed’, it’s half-way to being a techno beat. On a great deal of the album, this harshness is juxtaposed by watery, swelling guitar chords that add a dreamy texture to the record alongside the more aggressive, industrial tones. “This is just a piece of wood with some metal strings attached – you can do whatever you want with it,” Mete says of his approach to his instrument.
Behind them, drummer Shane Maguire uses the rim of his drums almost as much as the skins, providing a clattering, metallic backbeat. “I wanted to reinforce the clangy soundscapes of the songs,” he says of his approach to his instrument, and the record includes Shane whacking a metal staircase with a stick in the studio. Most of the melodies on offer poke through from Rob Clarke’s inventive, nodding basslines, which have nods to The Cure, who Just Mustard supported at a Dublin show in 2019. Rob’s sub bass also plays a pivotal role in the sound, creating a sound that feels like an anchor at the bottom of the sea and adding extra emotional weight to the record. “It leaves open the space that a normal bass guitar would normally occupy,” he explains, “and it’s leaving a lot of room in the mid frequencies for vocals and guitars.”
Then there’s Katie on vocals. On the roaring climax to single ‘I Am You’ and the melodic and rhythmic verses in the sprightly ‘Mirrors’, she becomes the transfixing focal point of the band, where past material has seen her voice drop back to within the rest of the band, become an extra texture in the soundscapes.
Since the release of debut album ‘Wednesday’ in mid-2018, the band have undergone a subtle but firm transition, through propulsive 2019 single ‘Frank’ and the gargantuan ‘Seven’ from later that year. While ‘Wednesday’ and subsequent singles pushed Just Mustard away from fitting snugly into the shoegaze category they once occupied, ‘Heart Under’ makes them stand alone as a band that sound like no other.
A standing show.