Mongoose may be an all female four-piece but the group are less girl band, and more firebrand. Their folk-rock tendencies are all sweet on the surface, but they very much have fire and brimstone under their feet.
Lyrically, Mongoose are as biting as any modern day pop artist – minus the tiresome clichés. Lead single Bottom Line snaps harder than any line of dialogue in Mean Girls, with vocal flair and acoustic finesse to match the sass accordingly. “You could’ve tried just a little harder to unearth my mystery/I didn’t try either, granted/But it’s a lesser loss for me …”
Vocally, Mongoose have a lot of depth, and the harmonies are gorgeously arranged throughout. Far from twee and saccharine – a trap which too many folk artists fall into – songs such Woman On A Beat and Featherkisses have an almost sensual quality.
Their command of timing and rhythm is impressive to say the least. When they’re not peppering on the up-tempo numbers, they are grinding things to a near halt with slow, deliberate movements in the music and vocals, commanding attention. Bright Horizon initially seems like a tepid value, only for it to transform into a fiery jig; the strings adopting traits from traditional Irish music.
Can I See You Tonight sees the band experiment with a varied pace, and smoking harmonies aligning with the spooky lines of guitar and violin. Each song is a self contained capsule of emotion.
Stand out track Goodbye Song – pertinently the album’s closer – is cut clean from the heart of the artist. Exposed vocals make for raw, intense listening, especially when paired with the emotionally charged lyrics.
“Say goodbye to your hawthorn girl/Run your hands through another’s curls,” they chirp mournfully.
The band spent a long time working on their debut effort, and the end result is proof that their diligence paid off. Mongoose could sing rings around most mainstream artists (female or otherwise), not to mention having more emotional density than all of them combined.
‘Mongoose’ is a flurry of emotions, met sometimes with furious strings, or sometimes rolling waves and birdsong. The band give us an unexpected, and often visceral, look at love and life in your twenties, in roaring colour with a sound that swallows you whole – heart first.