Released: 2011, Century Media Records
Deathcore, Dillinger Escape Plan and Kraftwerk - if any of these send your gag reflex into auto-pilot, you may be better off skipping to the next review. For in Arsonists Get All The Girls, you'll find a curious hybrid of all three, delivered by a troupe of Santa Cruz-based nutters who've had to see off more than their share of adversity over the past few years. Not least among these was the untimely passing of bass player, Patrick Mason, and a change in frontman - all of which would likely explain why their 2009 full-length, PORTALS, sounded decidedly patchy.
Now they're back, sounding tighter, more focused and significantly less self-deprecating than they have been known to in years gone by. If you hadn't yet made their acquaintance, you're certainly in for a schizophrenic ride. Take "Neck of the Contrast" for example: around the 1:30 mark a hulking beatdown gives way to a funk sequence that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Infectious Grooves record, then takes a detour along an uber-cheesy synth-pop line before heading down the throat of a full-on mathcore spazz-out. On "Dr Teeth", they opt for a comparatively more palatable (for mainstream tastes at least) melodic approach - which unfortunately becomes something of a problem as the album progresses. As the frequency of these soulful sojourns increase, so you may find your interest in MOTHERLAND ebbing, as it highlights that the sextet are a far more impressive bunch when they're indulging their more inventive quirks.
Still, there's enough here that does hit the spot to warrant a better than average write-up. If you're a fan of acts like Horse The Band, there's a pretty good chance you'll be spending a lot of time spinning MOTHERLAND.