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Mammoth Penguins - 'There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win' Album Review


1. Closure

2. Dick Move

3. There is So Much More

4. I Wanna

5. Let Yourself Be

6. Put It All On You

7. Quit My Job

8. Cold and Lonely Place

9. Trust Me

10. Doesn't Work

11. You Just Carry On

I always look back on my summer holidays as spending weeks on end sitting in fields whilst smoking, drinking cheap alcohol and chatting with friends, whilst someone played guitar, or we listened to the radio. Maybe an afternoon whiled away in a beer garden, with the sun beating down, with nothing better to do than just be. Every time summer approaches, I find myself yearning for those carefree days, where you could just hop in a friend’s car and drive around for the sake of it, listening to music and living the moment. Every summer I’m a little disappointed that it never quite works out that way anymore, but really, when I think about it, it didn’t really work out that way that often. Most of the time would be spent trying to kill time, quite a bit of boredom and shit TV, and only now and then would it reach the heady heights of my rose-tinted reminiscence.

At first, I felt that Mammoth Penguin’s third album ‘There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win’ would be a glorious soundtrack to the summer, a great album to listen to whilst lying in a field watching clouds pass by. Emma Kupa’s vocals somehow manage to imply fragility whilst being delivered with a fuck you confidence, in a way that few vocalists manage (think Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker, or perhaps Courtney Barnett at a push.) But it’s so much more than the vocal, even if it is so striking. The album starts with not quite a bang, more a quiet riot in ‘Closure’ which has a simple idiosyncrasy that manages to avoid sounding twee and is followed up by the excellent ‘Dick Move’. At this point, I confess that I was in love with this record and was determined to give it a top review even if the rest of it had consisted of nothing other than the sound of Lewis Capaldi vomiting into a dustbin. Fortunately, it doesn’t.

This is an album largely about love, the breakdown of relationships, the difficulty of maintaining relationships, and the all-consuming love chronicled in ‘I wanna’; “I love you, I love you, I love you / Fuck it all, fuck it all, fuck it all”. With that wilful abandon, comes the inevitable crash. I’m not quite sure how to say this, so I’m just going to come out and say it. The penultimate track, ‘Doesn’t Work’ actually made me cry on my way home from work tonight. The pain and frustration at the irreversible decline and death of something special, expressed in Kupa’s numb and almost expressionless delivery is absolutely fucking devastating. Maybe it had been a long day, maybe I was tired, or maybe it hit a nerve, I don’t know, but I know that it takes something special to do that to me when I’m sober. When I’m not sober, I cry at pretty much every movie I watch though, so y’know, maybe I have issues.

I said earlier that I initially thought ‘TNFWCBW’ would be a glorious soundtrack to the summer, perhaps a little fluffy at times, but what else do you need on those halcyon days? The truth is that not many days are halcyon, a lot of the time they’re pretty hard-, and this album reflects that beautifully. It’s not fluffy, it’s a feather pillow that’s had shards of glass put in it, getting you comfy and then cutting you deep. I love this record so, so much, and whilst it might not soundtrack rose tinted visions of me sitting in sun drenched fields with friends this summer, it’s going to soundtrack my life for the summer and beyond.

Review - Jon Stokes

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