Track Review

Track Review: The Things We Learn In Books // Mules

With comparisons to bands like Joy Division, Fugazi, Hot Snakes, Sonic Youth and The Stooges, UK-based quartet Mules has a sound that is spunky, feisty and hits you in the face. Describing their work as “post-punk inspired music with lyrics that reflects cultural hegemony, systems of disciplinary power…and the desire to break from the norms foisted upon us by capitalism”, Mules are not only fun to listen to but also have a profound poignancy that makes you think. The latest addition to their repertoire is the single ‘The Things We Learn In Books’.

Ironically, ‘The Things We Learn In Books’ is not about the things people learn in books. While it refers to concepts like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave or liberation theology in the lyrics, the single poses a deeper question: how do you cope with things they don’t teach you at school? What about growing up, dealing with heartbreak, managing emotional distress? No one tells you what that’s all about and how to navigate the waters of confusion. It’s this that Mules wants to share with the world.

“’The Things We Learn in Books’ is all about the things we can’t really learn from books. I have an MA in political philosophy, but I still feel like a fucking idiot most of the time. No matter how many phrases and concepts you learn, it doesn’t mean shit when life throws something powerful at you…” – Tommy Vincent (vocalist) on ‘The Things We Learn In Books

Bringing tinges of Joy Division to contemporary audiences, ‘The Things We Learn In Books’ is an upbeat sonic slap in the face. Bold and forceful, the lads release a hard-hitting single with pounding drums and distorted guitars blasting through the speakers. Rushing through your veins from the first second, Mules have you jumping about to their “spiky, wiry punk rock”; however, while there are crescendos into catchy choruses it is the monotone spoken word lyrics that capture my attention. I always find it interesting that a bland vocal execution is more hard-hitting than the loudest scream.

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