Mush – Down Tools

Mush keep their wit quick and their takes boiling hot.

Label: Memphis Industries
Released: 8th July 2022

It doesn’t take a genius to see times are changing at a supersonic pace, and it’s getting harder than ever to keep up.

Mush aren’t experiencing any of that difficulty in their third album in as many years, ‘Down Tools’, which sees the band slow down their approach to be more measured and precise, while keeping their wit quick and their takes boiling hot. The Leeds-based four-piece have expanded their sound from the fantastically scattered, frantic political satire of their previous records, now presenting a broader scope with plenty of room for composure and madcap antics alike.

Lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Dan Hyndman plays a role less rooted in the absurd, taking more risks with his vocal performance and steering the album’s lyricism away from pure political observation. The result is a melange of pleasantly bizarre phrases and surprisingly earnest moments of vulnerability. Dan has made room for more sober delivery, while his usual vocal acrobatics take the back seat. ‘Northern Safari’ acts as a whistlestop tour through the media’s slanted representation of the north of England, humming with the cartoonish charm that Mush are a cadre for creating. Perhaps the album’s greatest departure is the ultra-mellow ‘Dense Traffic’ that plays with incredibly straight laces until its punky crescendo. The band’s musicality now shows two distinctly different faces, their trademark noise heavy mosh tracks and new, more considered tones.

Despite having a release every calendar year since their full-length debut, Mush have shown clear progression and development with every step. They’re not just a conveyor belt of wacky topical caricature; this isn’t Mock The Week. ‘Down Tools’ has made it crystal clear what this band are capable of.

4.0 rating
Total Score

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