Mother Inc.: Mother Inc.

Let's cut to the chase and call Mother Inc. a campy novelty band. It's not often you'll find a tech-pop duo composed of two fashion plate/art world real life mothers calling life like they see it. Imagine Peaches all grown up, adjusting to the realities of early middle age, no longer inflammatory but provocative, not screaming but smirking, as sexy as ever.

Mother Inc. is Yvonne Force Villareal and Sandra Hamburg, two mothers and art world professionals chasing rock stardom. Nearly twenty years ago, while they were attending design school, they wrote the fabulously witty "Megacolon," track 3 on the self titled 2005 full length Mother Inc. Years later, Yvonne's job as a public art producer led her to Fischerspooner, who were captivated by the song and decided to put it on their album. Sandra and Yvonne became Mother Inc. and started performing the song with Fischerspooner.

Sonically, Mother Inc. is not that far off from the lusty Jessica Vale project The Sex Album. Released at approximately the same time, they are strikingly similar, with electro beats serving as the backdrop for some very honest and insightful spoken word from confident, sexy and jaded female Manhattanites. While Vale tends to drift far off into indulgent experimental soundscapes, Mother Inc. likes to stick to quirky commentary. They all share some high style points with art backgrounds and trendy designer clothes, although Mother Inc. has a full on FENDI endorsement, which is impossibly high-brow by most indie musicians' standards.

It's hard not to judge the book by it's cover, which is very well done in this case: attractive, made-up women wearing furs; expensive gatefold packaging; the FENDI connection. But once one can look past the veneer, this album is really all about the witty lyrics. Songs like "Nipple Confusion" and "Under the Scalpel" can be outright hysterical in their life references, it's not often you stumble across songs with lyrics like "Financing is an option, 10-day guarantee" or "Mrs. Robinson is so PASSE."

Their capitalist-friendly designer label feminism differs from fellow New Yorkers Le Tigre, who they sound like in their punk flavored bonus track "Soccer Mom." But their ability to confidently express their convictions- empowering themselves on their chosen life path- puts them squarely in Kathleen Hanna's post-riot grrl universe.

Their cover of the disco classic "Native New Yorker" is definitely a high point on the album, and their reading stands on its own. A punchy, stomping tech beat underscores the track, a short cab ride from I Am The World Trade Center's contemporary electronica with female vocal sound.

One can only wonder if Mother Inc. will make it as far as a second album. It seems likely though, that they are part of a much larger trend that will persevere, a new wave of DIY tech-pop female artists with a message.

Terbo Ted
Editor, betterPropaganda

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