Museum of Love Take Eclectic, Synth-driven Approach on ‘Life of Mammals’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

In between the back and forth of LCD Soundsystem’s constant on and off again status, the members have been busy on their own side projects. Drummer and cofounder Pat Mahoney has been keeping busy writing music with Dennis McNany for their band Museum of Love. It has been seven years since the duo’s self-titled debut and they have expanded on their sound for Life of Mammals. In a press release, McNany tells how the album’s 10 tracks were written to have “delightfully elliptical” lyrics, adding, “It’s an interesting way to build a song by breaking down an idea, if that makes sense. It’s more exciting than building up from a melody line.” 

The album begins with “Your Nails Have Grown”, an eight-minute track that keeps to pretty minimal instrumentation. A steady electronic beat throughout is joined by deadpan vocals as shrill saxophones weave in and out. The titular track follows with a much fuller sound with multiple synths playing over a full drum beat while the vocal melody sounds much more like an LCD Soundsystem track. “Cluttered World” is the first single from the album and reminiscent of some of the influences of the band like Roxy Music and German electronic duo Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft. “Army of Children” starts with a syncopated electronic drum beat before being joined by acoustic guitar and lap steel making it sound like electronic alt-country song until the addition of dub studio sounds turn it into more of a psych-country song. The closing track, “Almost Certainly Not You,” brings a bit of a crooner vibe to the album with deep Roy Orbison type vocals and pianos weaving harmonies together.

Life of Mammals is definitely a very eclectic album, with no two songs sounding too similar to each other. This makes it an album that has a lot of repeat listening value. Fans of LCD Soundsystem, John Cale, Krautrock, dub, or Scott Walker will all find something to love on this album.

Photo credit: Kasia Walicka-Maimone

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