Wall of Sound PR

Get email updates

Diving headfirst into the chaos of late-capitalist life, Mancunian power-trio Mumbles ask the small questions: How do we be good people at the end of the world? How do we even survive? What the fuck is actually going on? Inner worlds and systems too big to see overwhelm all the time, but friendship, community, and the ecstatic joy lurking in the mundane can get us through.

Written after years of life-threatening/changing illness for frontperson Jacob Nicholas (they/them), In the Pocket of Big Sad is a sprawling attempt to chart re-entering a declining world. Alongside drummer Oli Knight (he/him) and clarinettist Tristan O’Leary (he/him), Mumbles emerge as a shred-heavy, turbocharged unit, powering through the agony, the ecstasy, and the more agony of learning how to be a human being in all of this.

Incorporating elements of emo, noise rock, folk, ambient and free jazz, In the Pocket of Big Sad defies easy categorisation, but is ultimately just double-time indie rock with ideas above its station. The record is joyous, desperate, intimate and widescreen, often at the same time.

Augmenting the 400mph chaos of their live shows with maximalist arrangements, the album is covered in Tristan’s woodwinds, and frequently triple-figure layers of keys, strings, trumpets and percussion from Jacob and a host of collaborators, including Cambridge best friends Tape Runs Out. This sense of community, collaboration and commitment to placing Mumbles in the wider world is best shown by the raft of extra vocalists, perhaps most notably Toronto’s Porridge (he/she/they), who rocks up on four tracks to steal the show.

Opener ‘How Do Happy?’ is the album’s mission statement; a skronky, brassy burst of confusion and longing for connection. Ragers like ‘JD Sports’ and ‘This Lamb Wants Attention’ keep up the yearning, channelling heroes Deerhoof into noodling, labyrinthine structures. Meanwhile, more tender tracks like ‘Everything Just Sprawls’ and ‘Violence & Stupidity’ take a more traditional sonic turn, echoing inspirations like Girlpool and Beirut.

The melancholy commitment to cardio and dissociation of ‘Sprawls’ is shattered by the optimism of the David Graeber and Urusla K Le Guin-referencing ‘Violence & Stupidity’. “A winter is not an ending, all will bloom again” – we may not know what a better world will look like, but it will come in time. All of this leads up to the set-ending one-two gut punch of ‘Skejbyparken 2, st.’ and ‘Talking to Plants’.

The former obliquely explores the origins of illness and trauma in barely a minute, while the monolithic latter maps the rising and falling nature of recovery (and bags of cans in the park) over nineteen. Moving from pastoral indie to complete chaos, collapsing into free jazz ambience before climbing out again to an overwhelming climax, it’s an entire record in a song. The final blowout is pure catharsis, with Jacob’s repeated declaration that “I am scared, but glad to be alive” taken up by three friends over layers of fuzz and trumpets. A fanfare for living through this. A commitment to friends, to community, to healing ourselves and the world we inhabit.

Written, recorded and mixed agonisingly over almost four years by the band, and inexplicably mastered by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier (he/him), ‘In the Pocket of Big Sad’ is the lushest, most mid frequency-heavy bedroom epic you’ll ever hear.