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Mother Mother sheds skin with The Sticks

Mother Mother beguiled Halifax at the forum
Mother Mother beguiled Halifax at the forum (Michael Cestnik photo)


“It’s like a snake orgy in the Garden of Eden,” Ryan Guldemond says of Mother Mother, the B.C.-grown band for which he sings and plays guitar. Mother Mother is a triumvirate of singers spitting quirky lyrics over polished guitar hums. Their eclectic pop garnered mainstream attention after the release of Eureka, their third record. After relentless touring and media exposure, the band’s fourth full-length record, The Sticks, was released worldwide on Sept. 18.

The Sticks marks footprints on new terrain for the band. Guldemond says the tracks on the album “imply a place of remoteness, stillness of the mind, like a cabin in the woods. It hearkens back to a calm which we were given at some point, but through living, lost.”

While Eureka inspired images of polished urban sidewalks and skyscrapers, The Sticks is Mother Mother wading out into that wild beyond the walls without a cell phone. Guldemond’s distinct writing style is still highlighted, and the band’s contagious melodies make excellent food for ear-worms, as always. However, Mother Mother enthusiasts will find a vacancy in The Sticks.

“Maybe it was a reaction to the upbeat qualities of Eureka,” says Guldemond. “There’s this soft spot we have for sleepers, the ones you want to be half-asleep for.”

This voyage out of the ecstasy and frenzy of the city could be Mother Mother’s maturation process; they’re ready to move into their own space. Riding on the success of Eureka, the band toured extensively for the last year with stops at many major festivals, including Montreal’s Osheaga.

“Being so involved with music, I don’t take it quite as seriously,” Guldemond explains of The Sticks. “My writing process is just something that builds up. I don’t want to know very much about it. I try not to decode it.”

But every sojourn can only last so long, and Mother Mother is back on the road, bringing The Sticks on a cross-Canada tour, starting from the Halifax Forum on Nov. 17.

“We have a bigger show this time around,” Guldemond is proud to note.  “The new album really works live, but we’re not going to shy away from old favourites.”

As a band that has become comfortable in their own skin, The Sticks is a break through the shell. Their live show is sure to be raw and new for even the most seasoned Mother Mother fans, and it is up to Halifax to determine how this new side of the band will fare live.


Mat Wilush
Mat Wilush
Mat Wilush once went to see Agent Orange on the outskirts of Toronto, where the beer was salty and drunken teenagers took turns sitting in a prop electric chair. The music had aged poorly. A mohawk’d middle-ager danced through the first couple songs, but quickly tired out. There just isn’t much room for surf rock in the world anymore. What next? Mat Wilush wants to know. Mat is the Gazette's Arts Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @wilushwho and email him at

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