Words: James Frostick
Punchy and vagarious hard-rock outfit Drunk Mums are building up momentum towards another potent assemblage of hard-bitten noise. The band’s new album Urban Cowboy will be moseying over the horizon as the sun sets on 2018, but the Melbourne-via-Cairns malcontents are kicking the party off early with ‘Roll With The Punches’. The track is a hefty power-pop kicker about getting beaten down by life but never collapsing under the weight of its bullshit, proving beyond all doubt that nothing brightens a mood better than loud music.
Rock and roll means a lot of things to a lot of people, but a universal component of rock’s appeal is its knack for helping people blow off steam. Sure, there’s aggression and emotion laced throughout the broad genre’s extensive and expansive catalogue, but if its primal and direct nature doesn’t propel you to expend your own pent-up energy then you’ve been doing it all wrong.
Drunk Mums are gurus when it comes to releasing the pressure valve through music. While they’re not exactly zen when on stage, they’ve got enough tongue-in-cheek rambunctiousness and hard-rockin’ chops that they undoubtedly experience their own form of nirvana when whipping crowds into a frenzy. That being said, you gotta work up a bit of frustrated energy in order to work it off, and the group’s latest single ‘Roll With The Punches’ is a relatable and encouraging tune about the necessity of cutting loose, especially when it seems like all odds are stacked against your happiness.
‘Roll With The Punches’ beats a triumphant rhythm, a determined stride you can match when pounding your way towards better things. It moves away slightly from a scuzzy garage sound and aligns closer to hard rock’s classic forcefulness. A masterstroke combination of vocals sung in unison, uplifting riffs and a sprinkle of keys give this track a crackling sense of life, even when the band ruminates on dead-end jobs, using drugs as an escape and growing levels of pessimism. Drunk Mums flip the script and inject a bit of positivity into proceedings – suddenly I feel like I can kick goals from any distance.
“Do anything you wanna do / not what somebody tells you to / it’s alright if things don’t go your way / there will always be another day”
Perhaps the above is easier said than done, but Drunk Mums make it seem like anything’s possible as long as you’re trying. You can cop a listen to ‘Roll With The Punches’ down below, but before that, have a gander at a quick chat I had with bassist Adam Ritchie on the track and what we can expect from Urban Cowboy:
The song’s bio mentioned that the last two EPs (Leather and Denim) marked a bit of a reinvention for the band. How would you say Drunk Mums has changed over the past couple of years?
Well, we really haven’t changed much over the past couple of years, but we have definitely tried to focus more on writing songs that we enjoy rather than following modern garage and showing our love for rock ‘n’ roll.
WW: ‘Roll With The Punches’ has got a sort of gritty, beaten-down but almost uplifting theme. Was there any particular inspiration behind the song?
AR: The inspiration comes from getting over life’s hurdles and staying in a good mood when times are tough.
WW: The song touches on the idea of freedom and ‘doing what you want to do’. Does this mentality extend to how the band is approaching music these days, or has freedom always been a core component of operations?
AR: I think we have always tried to approach music in a way that we want to, even though that may not come across if you look at our whole catalogue. All you have to do is listen to ‘Freebird’ by Lynard Skynard for the whole song, and not just the start.
WW: There are a couple of firsts in this track technique wise, particularly the singing in unison. What new elements are you introducing to your latest effort?
AR: Physically we haven’t changed much, but in the mixing stage we are trying to avoid drowning our vocals in effects. We’ve also added a bit of reverb to the drums this time. Basically, we’re trying to keep true to our live sound. We want to involve more of our friends too, by asking them to record keys or harmonica.
WW: In regards to expanding or evolving the sound, what is the band’s approach towards pushing its own boundaries creatively?
AR: We are kind of de-evolving I think, and that’s a good thing. Having 100% creative control by recording it all ourselves gives us more time to experiment with different lyrics and melodies without having to go into the studio with one set of lyrics and then having to stick only to that.
WW: I’m eager to hear more from Urban Cowboy. What is it about this collection of songs that is most exciting for the band?
AR: We wrote these tracks pretty quickly as a whole, but some of them having being stewing in our own minds for a while. I think this record has a cohesive sound rather than a selection of genres mashed together.
WW: Are there any particular issues or topics that are proving to be fertile ground for ideas?
AR: We aren’t particularly focused on political or social issues in this band. That doesn’t mean we don’t think about them or focus on them with other groups, this band has just always been about having a good time.
Listen to ‘Roll With The Punches’ now:
Expect Urban Cowboy to ride into town in November through Pissfart Records. The band will be hitting the road to celebrate the release of ‘Roll With The Punches’ over the next two months, performing shows on the following dates:
July 6 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
July 7 – Mojos, Fremantle
August 3 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
August 4 – The Northern, Byron Bay
August 10 – Landsdowne Hotel. Sydney
August 11 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle
August 17 – The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne
August 23 – The Foundry, Christchurch
August 24 – Duniversity MRC, Dunedin