Action Dead Mouse – Revenge of Doormats and Coasters

Action Dead Mouse - Revenge of Dormats and Coasters

Action Dead Mouse - Revenge of Doormats and Coasters

This superb work of post-punk/post-rock is the doing of Action Dead Mouse. Their second album, Revenge of Doormats and Coasters, blends both math and chamber rock in an exploration of power and subtlety. That energy and appreciation for nuance lends every song an autumnal potential. No, that potential isn’t realized as often as we’d like, but the excitement lingers after moments have passed. Like an offshoot of Don Caballero and, to a lesser extent, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this, with Battles, could be the best instrumental rock to emerge in some years.

On opening track “Tom Cruise Told Me Dan Savio Is Not Dead”, Action Dead Mouse deftly blends post-punk angularity with chamber instrumentation–solid instrumentation that is more than just gravy. Although only an introduction, this track shows how the band keeps alive the human feel often lost in the cold mechanization of math and post-punk.

“Doormats and Coasters” is the first distinguishing use of instrumentation on the album. The flawless musicianship and tight execution are a wonder. Revenge of Doormats and Coasters is often too heady to be background music, as is the case here. Solid instrumentation also comes with the rolling toms in “Dancing Paper Solo”. The guitar’s chord progression moves between mild tension and spots of breathing room. And after some effective changes comes one of the album’s better bass lines. Then, later, at just under two minutes long, “Another Sad Messiah Pt.1” is the oddity in this collection of five to seven minute tracks. Here, a bristling energy courses as the song works towards a harmony of frenetic guitars and tranquil chamber music.

The album’s greatest achievement is “Consequences Glasses :3$ a Pair!”. Among these seven magnetic minutes of great transitions, the striking groove just after the 5 minute mark shows Action Dead Mouse doing what they are meant to do: Using their talent and originality to move beyond the post-rock temptation of rehashing the climb and fall conveyed through soaring guitars and resigned melodies. Those staples of post-rock are not Action Dead Mouse’s strength. The band is entitled to take risks, as they do on “Timbaland Vattkoppor (Fuck Oranges, Choose Apples!)”, a somewhat experimental arrangement that holds some of the promise and quasi-epic song writing you want to hear from this band.

But other tracks, including the over-long  “25 Hours in a Day” and “Incredibilecrazyranetotale”, dawdle and languish down well-traveled paths of math and post-rock. Not that these aren’t solid compositions, but they grow bored and tired. The one and only fold in this otherwise smooth album is “Room 121”. After a brief, nostalgic return to the muted post-rock melodies mastered by bands like Hopesfall in the late 1990’sand early 2000’s, Action Dead Mouse stalls, buying time until the circulation returns to their legs.

In addition to these missteps, the vocals could be better. The sparse vocals that do crop up here and there on the album are issued in Bloc Party fashion, loose shouts, short and syllabic. In spots, a vague sung harmony comes out, begging the question, “Where could Action Dead Mouse take this project if they had some good vocals?”. Because with these dynamics, variations of atmosphere and pacing, and interplay of choppy riffs, patient strings, and engaged percussion–the talent and skills are there. Hear it for yourself on Revenge of Doormats and Coasters.

Action Dead Mouse home and Myspace

Greed Recordings