Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Mulligrub describes themselves as “bittersweet but mostly bitter,” a sentiment that’s all too familiar to the many twenty-somethings out in the world. Being soft is hard, being vulnerable is hard; so we get angry and bitter — and Mulligrub knows this. The very title of their album, Soft Grudge, most demonstrates this. (To Mulligrub also means to complain.)
As the lyrics spill out of vocalist Kelly Campbell’s mouth with a candor that’s palpable, the words wrap around the listener like a comforting hug that rewards valid feelings. Campbell has a sincerity in their vocals that’s liberating and is accompanied every so often by drummer J Riley Hill’s effortless harmonies on songs like “Mountains & Houses” and “Homo Milk.” The band’s steady and ever-moving-forward disposition comes courtesy of bassist Mirella Villa, and can be credited as the music’s “groovy” factor.
Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Mulligrub’s music is its unapologetic character, almost as a ratification of emotions. A testament to the messy and confusing nature of being young and navigating one’s own feelings, Soft Grudge is a lesson in shamelessness. Opening track “Canadian Classic” is a frank and empowering expression of this convoluted feeling, while tracks like “Man in the Moon” and “NFLD” are more tender accounts. This is the music that is made to accompany those wading through a labyrinthine time of life.
Beloved DIY record label, Funeral Sounds, has announced they’ll be reissuing Soft Grunge on cassette shortly — so keep an eye out for that.