Weird as it sounds, listening to eight-piece Brisbane outfit The Mouldy Lovers is a bit like watching an old silent movie; the chaotic movement suggested by the players perfectly mirroring whatever shenanigans happen to unfold onscreen. The major difference here being, obviously, that this isn’t an old silent movie but the band’s latest album. And that’s the point; while these guys and girls undeniably work their live sets up to a frenzy with frantic folk and a bit of gypsy ska thrown in, Yonder Ruckus itself seems to suffer without the visual counterpart, despite serving up a few gems.
There’s no denying the entertainment factor, and musically, this album is a feast of delights. Skirting the fringes of many genres and cultures, tracks bounce from celebratory village polka to slow, street-savvy Euro ditties. The title track opens proceedings with a sunrise of blazing horns, a la spaghetti western, before singer Louis Whelan reins in his players with his directive piano accordion. It’s hard not to get swept up in the sleazy charm. But But But (Onomatopoeia) and Toro take things down a notch with soft reggae beats and flamenco guitar respectively, allowing Whelan to ring out above the kicky beat with his urgent delivery on the former. There’s something suspiciously akin to the Inspector Gadget theme hidden in Poor Maria, but Demons Of Mine takes the cake for fusing dizzying accordion with ska punk.
Again, while it’s a vibrant output and easy to get caught up in, the interludes and gypsy juggling of genres and sounds make it somewhat of a jarring listen, but the divine cinematic moments – like in the melancholy Muerte – make it memorable.