For this week's "On Mondays I listen to..." album review, we'll be sticking to the theme of all things creepy and kooky with Mummula's debut (October 2016) LP release, The Rise of Mummula.
Mummula is horror rock, garage, surf band from Columbus, Ohio.
According to their biography...
"In Mummula Manor, located high atop Mystery Mountain, on the thirteenth night of the thirteenth month, when the clock strikes pyramidnight, the mighty Mummula rises from his tomb. A team of his minions was assembled on Halloween 2012 and sent to Columbus, Ohio from their home of Sandsylvania in order to spread the curse of Mummula. Through their ca-coffin-ous blend of punk, garage, surf, and cartoons they'll show the world that it's hip to be scared. So pour a bowl of Phar-O's, crank your speakers up to 13, and shake what your mummy gave you!"
I first experienced Mummula back in July at The Rake's End in Cincinnati, Ohio. We were playing a show together. With four guys dressed as vampire mummies playing surf music, I totally dug what I heard and saw. Listen to The Rise of Mummula, and you will too.
"Alright, let's cut it open".
The Rise of Mummula is an album full of supernatural fun, featuring classic surf guitar floating on top of throbbing drums and driving bass. The keyboard/organ adds a color that carries each song, balancing the sounds of 60s surf and Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor". For the instrumentals on this album, think Avengers VI's "Time Bomb", The Chantays' "Pipeline", or The Ventures' "Walk Don't Run".
1. The Rise of Mummula - 02:13
The fourteen track album opens with the title track "The Rise of Mummula". When I first listened to this instrumental, I immediately went back and listened to it again. It is a very powerful start to the album, with the song's building bass, drums, guitar, and keys. "The Rise of Mummula" sets the tone and make you want to boogey.
2. Mystery Mountain - 02:03
"Mystery Mountain" is an upbeat love song for the teenage monster enthusiast. If you find yourself heading to Mystery Mountain in the summer, watch our for those "vampires from planets beyond the sun". I love the organ solo.
3. Mummula vs. the Moon Men - 03:50
The first twenty seconds of "Mummula vs. the Moon Men" sound like a music transition you would find in a film like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The listener isn't entirely sure if they are about to fight some Moon Men or be shivering with anticipation. Make sure you listen all the way through, because at 02:18 Mummula does in fact battle the Moon Men with blaster sound effects on top of an organ solo. So cool.
4. Hex Marks the Spot - 01:48
"Hex Marks the Spot" is very old school rock and roll. The organ is traded in for more of a classic piano sound. Only four songs into The Rise of Mummula and you can already tell that the album is extremely polished. Mummula clearly knew what they wanted for each song, and nailed it too.
5. Pumpkin Zone - 03:30
"Pumpkin Zone" is one of my favorite instrumentals on this album. It's a cover based on 8-bit music for The Pumpkin Zone, one of the worlds in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. Creepy surf vibes with great drums and guitar riffs. Despite the simplistic nature of 8-bit, this is appears to be one of the most complex songs on the album.
6. Percepto - 02:12
"Percepto" is a fun jam with awesome lyrics. It reminds me of the modern West Coast sound, a bit like Cutty Flam.
"When your spine starts to tingle and you can't sit still (Parasite! Parasite!) and when the fear starts to build and you feel a chill (Parasite! Parasite!)..."
7. Let's Get Invisible - 02:56
If you are looking for a love song about dematerializing girlfriends, "Let's Get Invisible" is the song for you. An easy song to move to with your transparent significant other.
8. Black Lagoon - 04:06
"Black Lagoon" has a Dick Dale meets The Cramps vibe. The guitar has a perfect clean/reverb tone that brings the track to life.
9. My Baby's Turnin' into a Wolfman - 02:55
"My Baby's Turnin' Into a Wolfman" is straight out of the 60s pop sound. The back up vocals do a "shoo wop bop" that creates an atmosphere of senior year prom. In 1963, "My Baby's Turnin' Into a Wolfman" charted #1 on the Top 666 Songs.*
*Top 666 Songs isn't a real chart, nor is the song from 1963, but if it was "My Baby's Turnin' Into a Wolfman" would in fact be #1 .
10. Mummenschvantz Waltz - 03:07
"Mummenschvantz Waltz" is another instrumental with a dancing organ line. I really enjoy the rhythm section (drums and bass) on this song. Very energetic for both parts.
11. 7th Guest - 02:38
"7th Guest" is more of a dark, punkie song with growling lead vocals and raw back up vocals.
"1,2,3,4,5,6,7th guest- GO!"
12. Hang Ten - 02:08
Surf garage rock shines through on "Hang Ten". With "Hang Ten" referencing surfing, Mummula is clever in also relating the title to a hanging from noose. While the idea may be dark, "Hang Ten" has an optimistic spirit that puts a smile on your face.
13. Iggy's Night Out - 02:11
"Iggy's Night Out" is a quick instrumental with a melody that stays with you long after you finish listening. The keyboard takes the lead on this song with its lyric-like structure.
14. Ed Woodn't (oh no, no, no) - 02:20
I love the bass intro on "Ed Woodn't (oh no, no, no)", a creepy song that sounds like something from outer space. The song is an ode to Ed Wood's work, with lyrics like "Plans one through eight, not so great" that allude to Wood's film Plan 9 from Outer Space. After listening to such creative and imaginative tracks, "Ed Woodn't (oh no, no, no)" is a fitting close to the album. It is a song that motivates the listener to keep being themselves and creating their own worlds. When you want to give up and quit your dreams, just know that Ed Woodn't.
While Mummula's The Rise of Mummula screams the spirit of Halloween, I could listen to this album every day of the year. Mummula has invented a world of monsters, ghouls, and space men where anything can happen. While listening, I was very impressed with not only their stories, but also the musical abilities that Mummula displays. The Rise of Mummula has an overall instrumental tightness that gives the listener an impression of many hours spent at rehearsal and in the studio. You can dance to the entire album, which is always a good sign. I'm jealous that for Mummula Halloween gets to be a year round event.
Mummula’s The Rise of Mummula is available for digital download/streaming on bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify. They also have cassette tapes in various creepy colors (with magic scratch-off download codes) available to purchase, so be sure to check those out as well.
Support Mummula and artists like them. Listen to, share, buy their music, and go to their shows.
You might just find your new favorite band.
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(The photos featured above are not mine and belong to the respected photographers and artists.)