Mojo Fury are not a band that have landed from the sky on their feet, bedecked in the glass slipper of immediate critical adoration. This Northern Ireland act have been pounding the stage for years, playing a form of demented psychedelic post-hardcore that provides an inspired mix between Primus and At The Drive-In. With this bombastic energy and black-hole-heavy sound there hasn’t been a place for a band like this in the market since those on the fringe of grunge slightly shimmered interestingly.
As a result, Visiting Hours Of A Travelling Circus has the craft and grace that most bands don’t reach till their heydays (for those that are so lucky). From the very opening of The Mann, the incessant stuttered guitar stabs kick in with the anger of Refused at full volume. Although three minutes long, the track flashes in the bat of an eye, Mike Mormecha’s drawl sounds constantly half-inebriated. As the opener bleeds into Bones’ electro-beeps, it all builds toward a crescendo, yet the band sit on this one; the rhythms then crawl like a disco that’s winding to the end of its own depraved night instead of following an urge to kick into the stands of bluster – the result is a darker, sludgier rock, one that’s more satisfying for feeling dirtier.
Some of this veers into the anthemic, scattergun rhythms that plateau for a chorus with a massive hook. We Should Just Run Away has the sloganeering of Biffy Clyro but without the annoying faux American twang, making it a driving, solid rock song.
In fairness, convention is clearly Mojo Fury’s weakness – and the best thing about them, as songs like Lemon Marine dance in and out of timings, Beach Boys-esque harmonies�and Jagga Jazzist styled rhythmic simmering build ups hurtle toward inevitable destruction. Their music feels as though it’s loosely constructed free-form, delicately willed together and then mandatorily blown up amidst a wall of distortion, guitar riffs and tom-drums.
It’s great that a band as challenging and distorted can produce something that doesn’t need a garage aesthetic to assert sincerity. With big production Mojo Fury warp and spin along the lines of The Deftones and even in some of their pirouetting chords and tempo builds Jeff Buckley‘s Grace teases onto their palette. They’ve made an album that highlights the vulnerability within eccentric musical madness.
Visiting Hours Of A Travelling Circus is a statement worthy of immense praise; it’s crafted seamlessly yet feels dishevelled and unhinged, sending surprises around every corner. All in, this is a heart-thumping debut.