For lovers of Modern Baseball or Pinegrove
Released January 5th, “Plywood,” the third album in two years from Los Angeles band Frat Mouse, is an auditory thrill for fans of artists such as Modern Baseball and Pinegrove. Though the members of the band are young, their raw and uncut accounts of their life have carved them out a niche in the so-called subgenre of “midwest emo,” a genre that draws the angst and punk of hardcore emo in with the melodies and musical stylings of indie and math rock.
The album gained almost immediate support from Frat Mouse’s avid fanbase, gaining 10k streams by January 7th.
The opening track “grant wasserstein, Pt. 3” provides a callback to two previous Grant Wasserstein tracks, showing a developing maturity in each one and also an impressive commitment to the brand that the young band has made for itself.
Album standouts- “plywood” and “fryman” teem with truthful adages of life growing up in Southern California such as “spending too long on the 101” and “working summers down the street off the highway.” The lyrics of more upbeat tracks such as “tokyo drift” showcase the impulsive thoughts harbored by the songwriter, with an honesty recollective of American Football or Sorority Noise. Impressively, each song holds its own with catchy choruses, and even with the inclusion of the entirely instrumental track “yellow,” there are no filler songs on this album. “new friends,” the last song on the nine track album, is a feat of musicianship, culminating in a breakdown with raw emotion in the vocals and in the instrumentation that is impossible to not be felt by listeners.
Although the album contains clear callbacks and inspiration from larger bands in this scene, Frat Mouse takes that inspiration and runs with it, confirming that Frat Mouse is here to stay. While it’s early in the year, “Plywood” currently holds the title of my favourite release of 2021, and I highly recommend Frat Mouse to anyone looking for a new artist to follow and look for more in the future.