The Mumlers ‘Don’t Throw Me Away’

 

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#827 in the Series) is The Mumlers, Don’t Throw Me Away

Don’t Throw Me Away is release number two from The Mumlers.  What impresses me about this album is its uncanny ability to feel old and fresh often at the same time.  It is difficult to label their style as there are elements of jazz, folk, and psychedelia all mixed together.  If I had to pick something I would say folk with some creole jazz backing.  A lot of the vocals have a lo-fi sound which fits perfectly into their retro sound.  Their style isn’t to force the music onto people or to catch you with one or two catchy guitar riffs right at the beginning.

The songs lazily drift from one song to the next with a sprinkling of upbeat tracks.  The arrangements and lo-fi production make it sound like it could have come out decades ago instead of in 2009.  The Mumlers are from California but many of the songs have a horn backing that is reminiscent of being in a parade in New Orleans.  It reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ability to convince people that they were a southern band while being from California as well.  The first time I heard this album I assumed that they had walked down Bourbon Street into the local recording studio and borrowed their instruments from the local high school.  It sounds like they just got together to jam but the more you listen to it the more purposeful it sounds.

The horns don’t feel as “up front” as many brass heavy bands such as Chicago or Blood, Sweat, & Tears.  It almost sounds like they recorded many of the instruments down a hallway or at least at a distance from the microphone.  It complements the overall feeling on the album very well.  The aesthetic is a feel that is definitely not contemporary but not traditional either.

The opening track “Raise the Blinds” starts out with a swing beat and lots of horns playing.  It reminds me of being in a speakeasy during prohibition with gambling going on in every direction you look.  With lines like “Long as we owe each other something we won’t ever be broke.”  The opening track could also be seen as a way to point out the greedy mentality of our society overall.  The beauty of this song and the album overall is all of the different layers and textures to everything they do.  You can take the songs at face value or delve deeper into the undertones of many of the tracks.  The next couples of tracks slow down and give a feeling that you could be walking through the streets of New Orleans. 

The fourth song is the standout track of the album, “Coffin Factory.”  This song pulls you out of the feeling of being in the 20’s all the way to the 60’s.  This is by far their most psychedelic song with some great keyboard playing throughout.  There is a very heavy Doors influence here especially from Ray Manzarek.  This song is yet again a harkening to CCR for me because it reminds me so much of Bad Moon Rising with a depressing idea and song lyrics set against a very upbeat and chipper melody.  After this song you are transported again back into the times of old.

The second half of the album goes for more of a folk sound.  There are some trombones that show up occasionally but there is more of a focus on string instruments and harmonicas.  Some of the more folksy standouts for me are “Golden Arm & Black Hand” as well as the title track “Don’t Throw Me Away.”  These more stripped down songs seem to carry more of an emotional weight to them.  The vocals stand out more and you can feel the strain in the singing.  Having the title track as the final song of the album seems to show the intention of this album quite well.  This album was intended as a collection of cohesive songs, not just a grouping of random singles.

I’ve been trying to figure out why The Mumlers didn’t have the breakout success that I would expect after hearing this album.  Perhaps it’s because many songs aren’t geared to be radio friendly or that the vibe is too mellow.  Whatever the reason, I’m just glad that I was able to enjoy a trip back in time with The Mumlers.

— Jay Kretchmar, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA

Track Listing

  1. Raise The Blinds
  2. St. James St.
  3. Tangled Up With You
  4. Coffin Factory
  5. 99 Years Ago
  6. Sunken City
  7. Soot-Black Suit
  8. Golden Arm & Black Hand
  9. Fugitive & Vagabond
  10. Battlefield Postcard
  11. Don’t Throw Me Away

Personnel

The Mumlers

  • Felix Archuleta –  Drums, Horn Organ, Percussion, Piano, Trombone, Trumpet, Vocals
  • Andy Julian Paul – Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, Vocals
  • Will Sprott – Autoharp, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Piano, Ukulele, Vibraphone, Vocals
  • Paolo Gomez – Bass, Percussion, Vocals
  • James Fenwicke Holmes – French Horn, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Trumpet, Vocals
  • Müller – Banjo, Clarinet, Dobro, Guitar, Percussion, Sax, Vocals

Additional Musicians

  • Laura Coughlin – Flute
  • Eric Perney – Bowed Bass
  • Elias Reitz –  Agogo, Congas
  • Sarah Jo Zaharako – Violin

Related Links

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Below are a bunch of songs from the album on a playlist

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Leo (29 Jan 2013, 18:03)
    Reply

    Awesome review! Loved the sound.



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