Canadian four-piece Mock Media released their debut album Mock Media II on 17 November via Meat Machine. The band comprises Garnet Aronyk (of Crack Cloud), Bennett Smith (of N0V3L), Austin Boylan (of Pottery) and Evan Aesen (of Painted Fruits), which is an intriguing mix in itself.
Album opener is the bassline-driven ‘ILL’ with its dominance of instrumentation, particularly of the saxophone as the track progresses. ‘Louis Won’t Break‘ references Laura Hillenbrand’s novel Unbroken, which tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star turned fighter pilot who spent 47 days on a raft at sea and two and a half years in a Japanese POW camp. What an inspiration for a song, and Mock Media do it proud. The four band members are childhood friends who grew up and met in Vernon, British Columbia, a small farming town surrounded by lakes and mountain ranges. Such beginnings naturally sparked a wanderlust and hence the interest in this individual. The distinct vocal combination is a real asset to their sound, and one that makes Mock Media recognisable.
‘Father Of That Crime’ introduces the twangy guitars, striking and captivating. There is a real off-kilter element to Mock Media. “You really want to be the cause of your demise?” is asked, suggesting the questioning of a protagonist. The vocals get more pained as the track continues, and those twangy guitars don’t stop right to the final note. ‘Rambo‘ appears to be more tongue in cheek, with its slightly plodding pace and lyrics including “anything you need just give Rambo a call“.
‘Modern Visions‘ bounces along from the get-go, but again with that slightly off-kilter rhythm which is so appealing. This is one of the highlights of the album with its punchy rhythms and shuffling drumbeats. Aronyk shares the following: “I think it addresses a common theme through our music. It reflects on trying to understand violence and chaos throughout different corners of the world, and not being overcome by nihilism.”
‘Madness‘ flies around here and there. Beginning as a tight but jangly punk-inspired galloping song it soon changes tack completely slowing down its pace into a twangy country canter. Of the track, Evan Aesen says: “It’s just looking at human history, because it’s been so terrible in a lot of ways. How civilized we normally are, it just takes the drop of a coin and it can turn into something real bad. And we’re always kind of teetering on the edge of that. People in their own lives too: you can hit rock bottom pretty quickly, but you can also persevere.”
The pace slows for ‘A Reason’, still led by the guitar but this time at a more measured pace. The song is more introspective, a song coming from an internal dialogue and sharing that we all “need a reason”. This is followed by ‘Touch The Ground’ with its crisp percussion and jive guitar. The lyrics encourage a sense of connecting with the earth, and this is dance music Mock Media style, that is to say, very difficult to resist.
‘Get On The Ship’ is much darker in its theme, describing horrific crimes. The combined vocals are authoritative in their demand to “get on the ship.” The music also manages to create a sense of foreboding in sections. The theme continues with its frustration in the repetition of violence and begging for it to stop. Mock Media II closes out with ‘The Weight Is On’ led by a reggae beat. Again there is an introspection here, questioning events that are beyond control and yet the outcome has to be carried. It’s a fine ending to an album which Mock Media are currently touring in the UK and EU. The combination of the four parts is seamless and together they have created a body of work which contains influences from far and wide, and that in itself is something to be applauded.