Momma - Household Name (Lucky Number)

Momma – Household Name (Lucky Number)

A feeling of elation resulting from a sudden rush of endorphins. Why start a review of Brooklyn’s Momma in this way? Well, these were the feelings I experienced on pressing play to the latest album from this band. Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten are vocalists/guitarists who purr sweeter than any Porsche you might find driving down the King’s Road. This duo is the real deal and as I’ve read, they mix “90s sludgy guitars” with an “intoxicating feeling” that leaves this ex-indie kid feeling young again, and yet I’m told, “act your age, rather than your shoe size”. But with sounds this good, my argument would have to be, why should I?

To call your third album, Household Name is a pretty bold move in the first place, but after 2 earlier seriously good albums, I’d have to ask, why not? It opens with ‘Rip Off’, a number that possesses that 90s indie vibe, essentially telling the tale of a musician baring their soul for that elusive deal: “A rip off, I’m waiting for your call. I’ve got what you want, now you’re singing along to my song, a rip off.” Now that’s a song, possessing honesty and what sounds like the experience of someone literally singing for their supper. Where do I sign? They have platinum written all over them. With an easy riff and a guitar that has that grunge feel. Not exactly ‘Nevermind’, but a feeling that certainly comes from that stable. This album is effortless. As the following track ‘Speeding 72’ takes hold, I’m not going anywhere. I’m seriously smitten. It was Lisa Germano, who might have been the last artist of their ilk that left me with this feeling, but that was in ’93. Momma have that something that any record exec looks for in an artist and I’m not referring to the fact they are both blonde and strike the right pose.

Moving on through this album’s pages, ’Medicine’ leaves the body filled with nervous energy, that might be expressed in that way that Kevin Bacon does in Footloose. Although as we come to ‘Rockstar’ and its following number ‘Motorbike’, it is filled with that kind of grunge cool Matt Dillon conveys in Singles. As I find myself midway through the 12 tracks, ‘Tall Home’  might have an air of the earlier referenced Lisa Germano, from her ‘Happiness’ recording, but this one has grunge depths that might be considered deeper, bolder, and even more beautiful. Just ‘…never disrespect me, I’m the fucker down the street…”. Vocally sharp and musically solid, this number strikes the right notes, perhaps not a single, but certainly that mid-album shining star.

The album arrives at ‘Lucky, a number that has the feel of The Juliana Hatfield Three. Maybe JHT have a similar feeling to Momma and as artists on the grunge scene, they can hold their heads high. This is exceptional. ‘Lucky’ is a song Friedman wrote after she and her significant other spent a lengthy amount of time on opposite sides of the country. A song Friedman “wanted to feel anthemic, like a sappy and sentimental love song, but I still wanted to speak on how exciting it feels to know you found a true treasure with someone you are in love with”. And HOW they achieve this, well many of us know this feeling, just to say this one has memory muscles. 

As I venture into track 8, ‘Brave’, it’s clear this album is a melting pot of influences, as Momma pulls these together, creating a sound in their own image. Sounds that range anywhere from San Fancisco’s Swell, through Belgium’s Deus, to shades of the heavyweights. The likes of Kim Deal, Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan, Chris Cornell, or Stephen Malkmus from a songwriting perspective. From ’Callin’ Me’, to ‘Spider’, which illustrates “…a spider catching nothing…”, creating a glorious pace that drives the songs onward. As the album reaches its climax in ‘No Stage’ and ‘No Bite’, two songs that rather than suggesting disappointment, are both glorious canvases. The vocalist suggests in ‘No Stage’, “…I can fill an auditorium…”. Finally to the wonderfully melodic ‘No Bite’, which provides its own “Exit Theory” where the record winds down to almost nothing as the number fades out. Almost apologising for its existence, during a minute of lead guitar. This entire piece of songwriting is both eloquent and touching, as it pulls from the songwriter’s own personal experience, creating a truly awesome 12 songs. As the listener, it left me with no alternative but to reach for the repeat.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.