Mwahaha's debut album was released a couple of weeks ago through Plug Research Records and on it the four-piece have created a dizzy and psychedelic pop record that blends delicate vocals with assertively delivered drum beats and chaotic synth melodies.
Mwahaha has a chaotic sound but recalls The Flaming Lips as much as anything else, capturing the spirit of Wayne Coyne's band just as they descended from heavenly to deeply paranoid. So this album feels a little like At War With The Mystics, if without some of the hooks and the knowing sideways glances to pop-culture. Ross Peacock's vocals are predominantly delivered falsetto, something which manages to simultaneously emphasise the moments of candy-dreams and the descent into the album's more frictional and uncompromising moments.
The album opens with 'Swimmer', a track that seems to roll in like heavy cloud on a summer's day. It's a little out of control with chip-tune bass loops and heady drumming clatter into Peacock's vocals. 'Poinsettia' is a moodier version of the band, the vocals obfuscated beneath several layers of production and at times dropping several octaves.
In the beginning 'We Build' is youthful, reckless and feckless in comparison to Mwahaha's more conflicted moments, but it descends into one of the album's noisiest and most industrial moments - heavily processed vocals functioning as bass lines against a clattering drum beat. When at full-tilt the band channel the same kitchen-sink aesthetic used by melodic electro punk band the Mae Shi.
That latter half of 'We Build' triggers the band's most confrontational moment as the album moves towards its second half. 'Rivers And Their Teeth' is a barrage of sub-bass and found sounds that emerges as a syrupy and doped-up ballad. The album draws to a close with 11-minutes of psychedelic rock in 'Bathynomus Gigantes', a track that slowly builds like a pressure cooker and feels post-apocalyptic. It's the aural equivalent of the shoots of grass that burst through neglected asphalt and animals repurposing our living space after the end of our species. Out of the seemingly disordered sound of Mwahaha comes something new and almost beautiful: they are at their best when their focus is at its worst.