Hearts of Animals' Mutation Poses a Beautiful Puzzle
One of my favorite things about reviewing music in Houston is that you don't just appreciate or criticize the music the city produces. You solve it like a video-game puzzle...if you're lucky. How can someone really stand up and try to do a conventional review of a P.L.X.T.X. album? That's not dancing about architecture, it's more like trying to describe the beauty of a butterfly to a blind water snake by putting it in one of Jigsaw's traps.
Case in point: Mlee Marie Mains and her wild band, of which she is sometimes the only member, Hearts of Animals. The woman is brilliant, and so is the music on her latest album, Another Mutation.
Mains has now on her third critically-acclaimed album, and 2007's Lemmings Baby is required listening for any fan of recent Houston music. Understandably, she has a bigger sound by now, and thought that echo-y emptiness is still there, it throbs in a cosmic way like a good Breeders record.
Seriously, no one else on the planet could write a song like "Porn From the Seventies" and make it this mind-bogglingly beautiful. In only six lines (that's all the lyrics it's got), Mains does things to your perception of beauty and love and sex and affection that is just indescribable. "See this, back when sex was shot with the same love that we shoot epic landscape introductions and kisses in the rain?" "See the light caress thighs and eyes?"
"That openness in art is dead dead dead before we were even born." Dammit, Mains, you are killing me over here.
Then while you're still recovering from that, you get "Jesus Drug," in which she totally takes down fanaticism, but does it in her trademark pixie-like Sunday-school-teacher voice. She sounds like her music should be "cute," you know, but it's not cute. It's cute like ladybugs are cute until you learn that they are cannibalistic monstrosities that simply come in pretty packaging.
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