Mothers When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired on LP
Mothers began in 2013 as the solo project of Athens, Georgia-based visual artist Kristine Leschper while she studied printmaking at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The discipline instilled in her a strong work ethic and an intense focus to detail, while simultaneously inspiring her to pursue other creative aspects of her personality. A self-taught songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Leschper's earliest musical influences span a great swath of early aughts rock and folk, such as Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, The Microphones, and Athens legends Neutral Milk Hotel; she later developed a love for experimental music, math rock, and noise artists, including Lighting Bolt, Hella, Don Caballero, and Tera Melos.
Leschper wrote the majority of the songs that would evolve into debut album When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired while finishing art school in early 2014. Fittingly, as while her attention to visual art and music come from very different creative spaces for her, each cannot help but bleed into one another. Produced by Drew Vandenberg – who has worked on albums by Of Montreal, Deerhunter and Porcelain Raft – at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, GA in December 2014, the record features collaborations with Josh McKay of Deerhunter on vibraphone as well as McKendrick Bearden of Grand Vapids, who played bass and provided string arrangements throughout. Comprised of eight original songs fleshed out together with multi-instrumentalist Matthew Anderegg – Mothers' debut LP is an introduction to the foundations of the young band, a snapshot of a particular period of their genesis that maps both where they began and where they are heading.
The album's bookends perhaps most explicitly display this musical chronology. The gorgeous "Too Small For Eyes" was the only one of a few solo songs Leschper had written on the mandolin that made it onto the album, its use of space, piano, strings, and her voice entwining and undulating to elegantly set the stage for what unfolds afterward; closer "Hold Your Own Hand" blooms from its plaintive opening bars to an ascendant, spirally waltz to an uproarious math-y breakdown, hinting at the louder, more post-rock and math rock-influenced sound for which their live show is fast becoming known.
Across the album, Leschper meditates on the human condition: what anyone's place is in the universe; what is our value; mortality; and what it means to have relationships in consideration of all these things. And while the songs are filtered through her frequently difficult, personal microcosmic experiences, she relates them in a manner that is at once highly intimate and readily universal. At heart, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired is about being alive, and just how surprisingly unmooring – and exhausting – this fundamental thing can be. The album is a window into the long path Leschper traveled while creating it: breathtakingly honest and rooted in the subconscious of one's journey.