2019 finds the Mommyheads pairing a reissue of Bingham’s Hole with their forthcoming tenth full-length Future You. In many ways a spiritual sequel to Bingham’s Hole, Future You finds the band in a similar place of comfort and mastery in their seamless channeling of eclectic influences. Except this time around, all those influences are present; the band has nothing to hide, and flecks of their 70s heroes are on full effortless display. Opener “Woke Up a Scientist” is an anthemic progressive pop minisaga that finds lead singer Adam Elk channeling his inner Freddie Mercury atop stacked, processed backgrounds vocals that call to mind peak ELO with the harmonic suspensions of Todd Rundgren / Utopia. “The Hound” is a piercing summation of the ever-growing tension felt by those struggling to wear a happy face despite the existential pain of 21st century American life. “Should we sell each other out?” is the question the chorus poses, and it all feels like a long-lost rock opera theme with its monolithic synth sweeps and deliberate subversion of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”. It’s a tasteful homage that arrives again in the yearning, clav-laden pulse of “Stockholm”, a tribute to the land of the Mommyheads’ most rabid cult following.
This delicate, fractured beauty has become a penchant for the Mommyheads and a staple of their sound, and to hear these songs alongside the willful prog extravagance that drives Future You signifies the band coming full circle. Together they’ve assimilated their myriad influences from the 1970s onward to construct an album that’s full-bodied in both its array of sounds/ideas and in its highlighting the suffering of the planet. The 70s influences act as a reminder of the fact that these are musicians amidst adulthood in America; they grew up witnessing the ecological damage done and the loss of humanitarian values… and now they have kids of their own. Paired with their previous full length Soundtrack to the World’s End (2018), the band has redefined themselves through a devotion to cautionary songwriting for the human condition, and their pain is pure and tangible. Their seamless melding of old and new on this album is thus rendered all the more poignant, both in the context of the band’s history, and by extension, where we all were then and now.