UNLUCKY MAMMALS: “THIS IS WHO WE ARE, AND THESE ARE ALL THE THINGS WE CAN DO”
PHILADELPHIA-based jangle punk, surf rock outfit UNLUCKY MAMMALS today finally release their debut album, ‘Fiddling in the Undertow.’
Similar to Dead Kennedys and Fugazi, activism plays a large role in the band’s music with many of their songs reflecting on the consequences of issues such as climate change, income inequality and the rising threat of authoritarianism.
“We like to think of our music as subversive,” said singer-guitarist Greg Kane. “We live in a world in which critical thinking skills are eroding under a constant barrage of misinformation, propaganda, and echo chambers. Hopefully people can listen to our music and pause to think about what they really do and do not know about some of these polarizing topics.”
Singer-guitarist Greg Kane, bassist Tim Christopher and drummer Jason Moriarty came together at the outset of the pandemic through a shared love of music on the alternative/indie rock spectrum – bands like the Dead Milkmen, the Replacements, Guided By Voices, and Green Day.
Kane and bassist Tim Christopher formed the band at the outset of 2021’s pandemic, having connected through a shared love of indie and underground rock music. Drummer Jason Moriarty joined a year later, while guitarist Vos Wartenberg arrived shortly after the album’s completion.
Fiddling in the Undertow display’s a heady selection of reference points. Opener ‘You Get What You Get,’ had me dreaming wistfully of Jonathan Richman, Christopher’s bass in ‘Savages’ is reminiscent of peak JJ Burnel, while the intro to ‘Doublethink’ sounds like a leftover from The Jam’s masterpiece, ‘Setting Sons.’
But it takes until ‘Socratic Meathead’ before you realise the weaker songs have been put at the beginning of the album, and the music is getting stronger and stronger, but is this by design, or accident?
“I think there’s several reasons,” adds Kane.
“The tracks that open the album set the tone for not only our style and tempo, but also our ideology. ‘You Get What You Get’ has that classic jangle punk sound that we love to play, and lyrically it acts almost as a mission statement for our views on capitalism and imbalance of power.
“’Savages’ and ‘Doublethink’ deliver fast and fuzzy energy while calling out historical whitewashing and indoctrination, and ‘Paper Crown’ follows to slow down the tempo. We felt these tracks were the best representation of who we are as a live band.
“As the album progresses, we decided to sprinkle in tracks that show off more of our versatility – the surf punk of ‘Socratic Meathead,’ the garage sleaze of ‘Reduce Reuse Repent,’ the blues folk of ‘Mr. One Percent,’ and the flash punk of ‘Run Hide Fight.’ It ultimately became the statement of our debut album – This is who we are, and these are all the things we can do.
“And we’re very excited with how ‘600 Billionaires’ turned out. It probably would have been a badass opener or first half track, but we just felt it has that closing track energy, so decided to keep it there!”
Unlucky Mammals have established their reputation in Philly’s burgeoning indie rock scene, and have also been featured on several compilations, including the 30-second-song collection, ‘Short Music for Even Shorter Attention Spans’ released in July 2023, and the upcoming, ‘Punksgiving Vol. 3’ collection which will benefit holiday assistance programmes.
UNLUCKY MAMMALS online: Unlucky Mammals