Your Mother Wants to Know

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This origami-sleeved teaser 7" from the fourth LP Velvet Hammer is Scrawl's debut with new drummer Dana Marshall replacing Carolyn O'Leary (no more all-girl trio, but this guy is great!), and is also their most cogent song of their career, or at least since Plus Also Too's "Gutterball." There's an icy heart (you know, when your stomach freezes over at bad news?) and bug-eyed, sad fear percolating amidst this slow, deliberate, thud-drummed rocker, with Marcy Mays' low-sung vocal oozing into a defiantly resigned chorus. Recorded once again by Steve Albini, who was in the chair for their Bloodsucker EP; if this single doesn't give you the creepy-crawlies, neither will an invasion of spiders when you're sleeping. Relations with mom are always potential minefields, especially if there's a nightmare in the past. "She wants you to like her, so try to forget," sings Mays, and the heebie-jeebies are compounded by Scrawl's refusal to name what mother's actual perceived old sins are. Great stuff. The non-LP flip, "Give Up," is more usual go-go, spunky, punky pop with more of that scratchy, economical guitar edginess (Pink Flag-era Wire), only Sue Harshe's bass is harsh like early Stranglers. Here Harshe forms an unsettling melodic duo with Mays on lines such as "The sun won't shine here unless it wants to." This is not as extraordinary as the A-side, but is just as solidly electrifying. Terrific 7."