Album Review: Mom Jeans—’Puppy Love’
Posted: by The Editor
The California-based emo band Mom Jeans. are back at it again with the album Puppy Love, out now on Counter Intuitive Records. With their previous debut LP Best Buds released in 2016 still holding strong, and countless cross-country tours, the expectation for the band to deliver a bigger sound on this new record was high. Best Buds was one of the most amazing breakup albums that came out in 2016, and of this generation of emo in general. Detailing the coping mechanisms of smoking weed and drinking 40’s with your friends with an overlying sense of depression is what made this album so relateable. The arrangements and songwriting had a simplicity to them in the sense that everything just worked. It all came together in the end and nothing was too complex, one instrument didn’t ring too loud over another. It’s one of the attributes that allows for listeners to put on their headphones and let this album flow without skipping a song. However, moving into Puppy Love, there was a certain hope that the band would flow into something a bit different.
Opener “near death fail comp (must watch till the end” sets the tone, immediately revealing that Puppy Love is a more aggressive counterpart to Best Buds. Beginning with a heavier guitar sound, this record was not going to be the same simplicity—in a good way. Bridging into a beautiful build of drums and harmonies into the second half of the track, it clearly set the tone for the album. Still having the break-up themes, but more in an angrier sense with lead singer Eric Butler having less of a whiney tone than on the previous record. This track made a clear statement that this was not going to be a breezy, feel-good record like the title Puppy Love suggests. It’s going to be much more explorative than that, it’s going to be reflective and aggressive in all the right ways.
The second track “sponsor me tape” opens with Butler singing, “well I hate your fucking face”, which is obviously a strong statement in any context. Having groovy riffs with these aggressive lyrics, and breakdowns about the effects of their previous relationship. Building into a faster riff beginning with the lyrics “I don’t think these wounds will heal themselves,” which feels like a sign of defeat and admittance of their problems. It seems like Mom Jeans. are almost going through these stages of healing through music. Going back to the aggression on this album, the guitars on this record seem to carry a little bit more weight to them than they did before. Creating more of a chaotic dynamic with the bass and drums, however still working together quite well and corresponding with each other.
Tracks like “PT.2” that have these amazing gang vocals on them feel like Mom Jeans. is more of the break-up support group than the single-voiced persona on Best Buds. It doesn’t seem like things are ever sugar-coated or romanticized on any Mom Jean’s track. Although the instrumentation seems to differ, the lyrics are very real and seem almost like ranting thoughts that collide with the jumpy and poppy riffs and drum lines. Gang vocals in unison singing, “how dare you come in my life and make me rely on you/how can you live with yourself knowing you did this to me” showcase the more support-group narrative that carries often throughout many of the tracks on this album.
“season 9, EP 2-3” previously released alongside their Audiotree session is one of the most yelly and jumpy tracks on Puppy Love. Having insane riffs between guitar and bass and partial gang vocals and harmonies, this track is easily one of the most jam-packed out of the whole album. With lyrics that feel like they’re building a meme-like starter pack such as “Marlboro lights and unethically sourced meats,” the track is an amazing halfway point and release to the rest of the album.
Overall, Puppy Love comes off as the more aggressive brother to Best Buds. The same break-up type themes that carry from Best Buds are reincarnated to create more a group-themed narrative. The album’s small details and hints about depression and anxiety aid to create a platform for fans to relate. It’s one of the things that makes Puppy Love such a unique album. It acknowledges so many contemporary issues such as mental health and love in a way that singles out some instances or events that are a daily struggle for some fans. Puppy Love will be a continuous repeat and a standing ground for the new Mom Jean’s sound.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.