Mope City: Petri-Dish

Mope City serve up the glory of '90's indie. How essential you find it depends entirely on how much you still need the '90s.

- Sydney’s Mope City hark back to the guitar-driven indie rock of the '90s like Sonic Youth, Eugenius or Built To Spill, as well bands closer to here and now. None more so than Day Ravies, with whom the band share half of its members.

There are a lot of standout, radio-friendly songs on here scattered in with brief forays into other sonic territory like the opener Life In A Petri Dish whose warbley guitars and rolling white noise could almost be confused on first listen for one of those “previously unheard” Kurt Cobain recordings that pop up every few years. Similarly Scale The Walls and Get Your Wish which come later in the album sound like excerpts from Warren Ellis and Nick Cave’s private home recording library.

The album's lead single Untapped Utility is cool, catchy stuff but it’s the fourth song on here Letterbomb and its haunting refrain of “My letterbomb / It’ll reach you one of these days” that’s the strongest the record has to offer in this reviewer’s opinion. It nails down in one minute and forty five seconds what can take other bands entire records. Then there's Wave Of Youth, which sounds very Moore and Ranaldo and you’d think that it’s intentional with a title like that. Lens-Blur could hold its own with some of those acts that I mentioned in the introduction to this review. It’s got the kind of chorus that will stick in your mind for days.

Life in a Petrie Dish feels like a modest affair all-up but not at all an unsatisfying one. In fact, the album ends stronger than it begins in a lot of ways, with the dirge of Disasterpiece. It's worth may well lie in whether you ever outgrew your flannies and ripped denim or not.

- Nathan Kearney.

Album Details

Album Title: Petri-Dish
Artist: Mope City
Record Label: (Tenth Court)