Dread underneath the party
Mondo Deco’s hopeless, hopeful glam rock
Its 12 songs (13 if you count a secret track) are an unrelenting party, but Mondo Deco still likes to tickle your brain with thoughtful, political and sometimes cynical lyrics.
Take the opener, “Feed the Rich.” Devil-may-care guitar riffs and swingy rhythms sound like a jam that would wake up a dive bar. But the title is a sarcastic reference to Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s line, “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich,” and the song critiques mass complacency as powerful people take more control over the world.
“It’s less trying to be divisive,” frontman Jereme Greene told SN&R. “It’s more … if everyone’s serious about something, the way to make it happen is around true collective change. … But it’s still fun.”
Other songs tackle religious cults, toxic relationships, isolation and technophobia (inspired by the Netflix show Black Mirror). The topics get brighter: “Someday’s Soldier” celebrates young change-makers such as teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. And you can contrast the track “Hand Me Down,” about a toxic relationship and loosely inspired by the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb,” with the bubble-gum romance of Mondo Deco’s “Not a Lot That I Can Do.”
“You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn’t feel existential dread,” Greene said. “But it’s not based around nihilism or defeatism or thinking that we’re all completely screwed.”
Take What Ya Like had a quick turnaround compared to the band’s last album, 2017’s Death Rattle Roll. That album took nearly three years to make, complicated after the 10-year-old band’s former bassist Steve Robinson dropped out to focus on school in 2014.
The lineup is strong now, with Billy Ewing (drums), Kolton James (guitar and vocals), new bassist Shawn Allen and Greene working democratically on new tunes. After rehearsing the songs tirelessly like their analog idols—Iggy Pop, David Bowie and The Hives, to name a few—the band tracked Take What Ya Like over the course of five days last December with local producer Patrick Hills at Earth Tone Studios.
“It’s just basically working within the parameters of what you have available to you,” Greene said. “Why sound like you’re on the radio when you’re playing to college radio or things that are on maybe on like smaller scale? It doesn’t need glitz, gloss and bunch of polish to it.”
The band plans to pair videos with the album, beginning in December. A limited run of vinyls will be available at live shows, including Mondo Deco’s album release show at the Starlet Room on J Street.
The band is planning to tour the Pacific Northwest in April, and Mondo Deco isn’t pulling the brakes on new material: A new EP is slated to release by the time they hit the road.
“We don’t want to wait to put [the songs] out anymore, and we don’t really feel like we have to,” Greene said.