Action Dead Mouse is a band from Bologna, Italy. EvilSponge reviews a lot of Italian music, but we receive even more of it. I think this is one of those "feedback loops". We are an American site that has given some favorable press to some bands (Japanese Gum, A Classic Education, The Great Saunites, Soviet Soviet) and so other Italian bands think "Hey, maybe they'll like us too!" and they send us their stuff. It's cool, just kind of odd. I mean, no one of the EvilSponge staff speaks Italian, and none of us are of Italian descent. It just seems a little random, but let's roll with it.
So, they are from the city of Bologna. I had to look it up, so that i could stop thinking of them as "the band from the land of lunchmeat". (Hint for Italians reading this, "bologna" or "baloney" in the USA is the name of a popular meat, sliced thin and served on sandwiches, normally to schoolchildren at lunchtime.) I learned that it is an old city in the middle of Italy, and home to the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088. Huh. So i have these people to blame that the alumni department at the college i attended keeps asking me for donations... No mention of tube shaped bright pink meats in the Wikipedia article, but whatever.
So, a band from Bologna, Italy who followed the trend of many other Italian acts and sent us a promo. The title is in Italian, and according to Google Translate it means "because this house explodes in your eyes?" I am sure that there is some cultural meaning lost in the translation.
Now all of the titles are in Italian, and the singer actually sings in Italian. Well, more screams, because Action Dead Mouse is a post-punk band, with the vocalist bellowing his words over driving rhythms and angular guitars. I mention the lack of the English language because i know it bothers some people. However, from the Italians i have talked with, it is something that they discuss in their scene a lot. Rock bands, even Italian ones, are kind of expected to sing in English, even though the majority of local people who would go to their shows do not speak that language. So their choice to sing in their native language is a conscious move on their part to appeal more to their local crowd than to pander to any perceived international audience. That kind of begs the question as to why they asked an American online 'zine to review their stuff, but whatever.
The point is: this is good stuff. Action Dead Mouse really know what they are doing. There are four tracks here in about 16 minutes. Let's go over them.
The first song is Ginocchia, which Google tells me means "Knees" in Italian. It starts with guitars grinding away as the drums slowly build up to a steady thudding. One guitar chimes along, and the vocalist comes in, bellowing through distortion. The guitars pick odd rhythms, and the song slows and then jerks forward at strange angles. This reminds me of June of '44.
I nostri mondiali di scacchi (which means "Our World Chess") starts slowly, the drummer scattering light hits as the guitars noodle. It sounds like an Explosions in the Sky intro, but then the band snaps, everything speeds up and the bellowing is back. It moves at a great pace, the guitars slightly more jangly here than on the first track. There is a really nice bit where the drums slow down and the guitars chime (again reminding me of EITS) while the singer bellows his Italian rage. It is like late Fugazi almost.
La piaga dell'umidità means "the scourge of moisture", which is a pretty cool title, really. This song starts with a staccato drum rhythm and the guitars jangling along, until settling into a steady rhythm, with one guitar jangling while the other chimes nicely. This is insanely catchy, from the two complimentary guitar lines, to the steady drumming, to the flow of the vocals. An angry sort of catchy, but toe-tappingly good nonetheless.
And finally we wrap the EP up with E' una lampadina rossa? ("And a red light?", but i wonder if it has more to do with certain districts in Amsterdam than traffic stop signals...). This starts off with the bass picking out a riff worthy of Gang of Four before the rest of the band comes in. The vocals are more melodic here than on other tracks, the vocalist really pushing himself a little. For some reason, this song seems a little sadder to me than the other three. Even so, it moves along nicely, and i think ends this EP well.
Overall, i am impressed. Really impressed. Perché questa casa ci esplode negli occhi? is a free EP (downloadable on BandCamp) that the band released at the beginning of last year, shortly after they released their third record, the mysteriously titled ä (how does one pronounce that?). You can get that record free at Bandcamp as well. In fact, you can download their first two records from their site. That's pretty cool of them to make all of their stuff free.
And you should go download this. At least this EP. Go do that right now. The short time frame of the EP makes it easily digestible. You should know, after these 16 minutes, if you want to spend time downloading their other releases. I, personally, now have their entire catalog on my phone, to blare at moments of exasperation. Good post-punk helps at times like that.