Heart Under rests on a knife edge. Somewhere between buzzsaw noise ridden backdrops and hypnotic pensive foregrounds, Just Mustards sophomore offering adds a obscured clarity to the feral undercurrent of their music. A record that pushes and pulls between these warring dynamics, Heart Under is restless.
Marking the departure from the suffocating weight of their debut Wednesday, ’23’ opens Heart Under with a defined vocal, given room to weave its spell above the screeching soundscapes and rattling drum beats. This attention to space and place, runs through Just Mustard’s sophomore release highlighting the bands’ ability to control, unleash and restrain the potent doom-laden energy of their music.
Songs such as ‘Still’ are made all the more impactful as Just Mustard play with this sense of expectation and release. The buzzing backgrounds are carefully composed, the beats pointed and the vocals dominant. The epic sound collage of ‘Blue Chalk’ melds these sounds, bringing them to the brink of abstraction while still maintaining a sense of purpose. Conversely, the jangled dream-pop mood of ‘Mirrors’ showcases the band’s ear for melody and structure. All these contrasting elements play into the greater colour and shape of Heart Under, resulting in an album alive with clashing texture and brief repose.
However, its the angular noise drenched growl of ‘In Shade’ that captures the imagination most. Brooding with the heavy atmospheric thread that runs right through Heart Under, ‘In Shade’ finds a way to be cacophonous and clear at the same time. Everything is in its right place, as Just Mustard meld a myriad of sounds into one working whole, resonating with dynamism.
And so it goes, Heart Under is a beast. A sure-footed sophomore release from Just Mustard, Heart Under builds on the feral foundations of Wednesday by adding a sense of lucidity to the music, whilst never losing the initial unpredictability that has made the Just Mustard so striking. Heart Under is the sound of band in complete control of their expression.