There's something to be said for a band that at very least, had good intentions.
This applies to Mouth Sewn Shut on two completely different, but two equally important planes. The first of those is their lyrical approach. Seemingly not content with many happenings in both the U.S. and world at large of late, the band's vocalist uses his mic as a platform to get out a lot of the thoughts he has and problems he sees. The issue with that, is he doesn't always portray those thoughts in the most eloquent or intelligent of manners. In "Get the Gun," a track about how youth are overwhelmed with thoughts and sightings of guns and violence during their adolescence, half the song is the repetition of "Get the gun -- shoot, shoot, shoot! Get the gun -- shoot, shoot, shoot!." Surely there's a better way than that to get the point across.
Other excerpts from the album are decidedly more intelligent and well-worded, making the record a bit of an inconsistent one. And that leads very well into the second issue that I have here. Again, good intentions with trying to mix their thrashy hardcore with some reggae and ska, but the second of those genre combinations just doesn't translate all that well.
All-out blitzkriegs such as "Stealing from You" suit the band's hard-nosed style and lyrical content to a 'T.' It's buzzing and ferocious for the entire duration, and that's just the way it should be. The wall of fuzz and distortion is only broken by the razorwire vocals, and the subsequent combination shows their prowess for that kind of writing style. Following that up is a perfect example of why the ska/reggae songs don't match the flow and don't match the intensity brought by the rest of the record.
"Pandemic Solution" begins with a few hard-hitting riffs and clean chord progressions, before slowing to just above a complete halt. The stagnated lyrical delivery does not do the singer justice, and due to the rest of the band holding back as well, the only parts of the song that carry any sort of enthusiasm are the sporadic speedings-up of the guitar and vocals to return to the style originally being played.
This is a very solid, albeit somewhat scatterbrained effort from a band that when trying, can really bring it. With plenty of talent to go around, and a voracious musical appetite, all that's needed from this four-piece is to "trim a bit of fat" around the edges, because they could be quite the band to look out for.