I hate band origin stories. Fucking loathe them. “Oh, how’d you guys get together?” “Well, the lads and I were all friends in high school and we loved Foo Fighters so we decided to start a band,” or worse, “The label put us together.” But, I like Mouse‘s origin story. I fucking love Mouse, in general, but I think their Origin story is serendipitous and cute. They met, quite simply, because Damon (guitar, vox) put out an ad out on Gumtree. Chris (drums) found the ad whilst browsing online, hit Damon up, and now they’re travelling the country and, pretty soon, the world, making a rip roaring racket.
Ok, that’s not exactly the most compelling story, but the thing is, rarely have there been two people so perfectly suited to make music together. Two good-natured but awkward, nerdy loners, equal parts naive and cynical, one, a guitarist, the other, a drummer, finding each other through the internet’s classifieds, and being such a perfect match, just seems like some sort of providence, or a statistical inevitability. Idk, either way, I’m stoked it happened because Mouse have by far been my favourite addition to the Durban music scene in the last few years.
They’re on the garage/psych rock wave that’s been popular amongst white people who wear leather jackets over vests with skinny jeans and slops, but they themselves couldn’t give a single fuck about fashion or image. Like Black Math who came before them, Mouse fit in that uniquely Durban psych-influenced garage rock space that seems to have more grit and less pretension to it than many bands playing with similar sounds. What can I say? I’m partial to high pitched yells over distorted guitars and playful and experimental drum beats. Mouse hit that sweet spot for me and a steadily growing number of people who know what’s up.
Mouse have been racking up the miles and consistently been getting booked around the country for the last year and a bit. With many trips to Joburg under their belt and a handful of ventures to Cape Town, as well as highly raved about sets at Mieliepop and Endless Daze, Mouse are starting to hit their stride as they get wiser to the game and more experience under their belts. They’ll soon be jetting off to play in Reunion Island, and they’ve been in talks with promoters in Europe about a possible tour, which I assume will lead to more tours because Mouse are one of those bands that once you’ve seen them live once, you’re hooked.
In the last 4 months, Mouse have been on a tear with musical releases. We’re talking 2 EPs, a track on a hip compilation and a 12-minute song just for good measure. Serendipity had me at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town the same time they were recording Balaclava which just has this ferocious driving surf-rock influenced guitar riff that gets taken all over the place and is a trip to listen to. They recorded it as part of the Psych Night/Red Bull/Vans God Save The New Wave compilation and it’s the stand out track of the 5. No disrespect to the other bands, I just couldn’t get through their songs without going back to Balaclava and rocking the fuck out. I might be biased but I’m also 100% correct.
I’ve also been bumping their Red Saint EP on repeat for the last month or so, mostly for the guitar riffage that kicks in about 30 seconds in on the opening track Eliminator. It starts out slow but turns into a real snorter that seeks to knock your block off. I suggest wearing a helmet to avoid injury.
Their latest release, Wave, is a 12-minute monster that highlights the duo’s creativity and stamina. The drums sound a bit like they were recorded in a bedroom, because they were, but that’s the charm of “garage” rock. It’s over 12 minutes long but never gets boring. Like the title suggests, the song builds and breaks repeatedly like waves crashing on the shore/your face. Sure, it’s a bit indulgent, but all Chris and Damon want to do is make some noise together, and you’d be hard-pressed to find two people better suited to do it.