Under Review

Under Review: Our Language / Colored Eyes, Mormon Crosses

Todd McCluskie

As my spiraling spirituality declines at an oddly impressive rate, I offer you this — there are apparently no crosses on Mormon temples or chapels, anywhere. However, I did recently stumble across Vancouver’s oxymoronic Mormon Crosses and their limited edition single featuring ”Our Language” and ”Colored Eyes,” released November 1, on the local Deer and Bird label.

Generally, I refrain from making declarative comparisons when discussing (new to me) bands, but at times, a gauge is required as a sort of musical watermark. So with my disclaimer intact and a cursory listen to Mormon Crosses, the influences seem obvious — shards of Bauhaus, Joy Division, with a splash of early, chaotic Black Flag sprinkled in. Search “Mormon Crosses (live) @ the Boat 4.26. 2014” on Youtube in all its grainy black and white splendor.

Darkness lingers prominent on this triple shot single. As famed English writer Aldous Huxley once quipped, “Perhaps it’s good for one to suffer. Can an artist do anything if he’s happy? Would he ever want to do anything? What is art, after all, but a protest against the horrible inclemency of life?“ I can hear the suffering seeping from the grooves of this “lathe cut” vinyl, even though the lyrics appear hidden in the overall mood of this sparsely produced release. Of course such suffering, that Huxley speaks of, is like a thick gooey blast of misery — it loves company. Relatable and universal, yes, and if you haven’t had a good old kick in the teeth recently, be patient — it’s coming.

Mormon Crosses is a trio consisting of Jesse Taylor (guitar/vocals), Casey F Preston (bass) and Bryce Agecoutay (drums) plus Mel Zee (backup vocals). This effort was recorded at Vancouver’s underground haven, Nite Prison.

The recording opens with “Our Language and may be the most subdued and accessible of the tracks complete with an outro that erupts into a ferocious mess of heaviness — ” Realize we have lost sleep / Be alone again / Terrorists have instincts / To be alone again / She talks but never / Slows down with age / A staircase to nowhere / He falls away.” Then we maintain the dusky hue with “Colored Eyes. Lastly, a seemingly lo-fi, exquisitely sloppy recording of “Gold Name (reminiscent of Vancouver punk legends No Exit) is tacked on neatly.

While Mormon Crosses are clearly unlikely in religious terms, they are more than relevant in dusty, dank corners of your local vinyl shop; in those peculiar hidden post-punk corridors, that can offer solace to even the most prone sufferers. —Todd McCluskie