Mouth Sewn Shut - Doomed Future Today (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Mouth Sewn Shut

Doomed Future Today (2007)

Rodent Popsicle / Profane Existence

The grinding cacophony of crust punk and playful upstrokes of ska have rarely joined hands, and even more rarely done so with any semblance of style or skill. Despite their squatting lifestyle and poor hygiene, the crack rock steady of Choking Victim and Leftover Crack generally gets shut out of the elitist crust punk scene while the Subhumans and Citizen Fish are really more anarcho bands with some ska tendencies. So for all intents and purposes, Mouth Sewn Shut marched into a new territory of checkered dumpster divers and nihilistic rude boys with their debut Pandemic = Solution.

If the title of the delightfully fatalistic Doomed Future Today isn't any indication of what to expect on this record, song titles like "When Is it Going to End," "World War 3" and "I Hate It" should leave no doubt. Featuring half of Toxic Narcotic (including vocalist Bill Damon), Mouth Sewn Shut play a combination of about one-third faithful crust punk, another third grimy, distorted reggae, and the last some blend of said styles. Do the math: It's a lively assortment and it works surprisingly well.

The skank-inducing ska-punk of tracks like "Methademic" and "Working to Drink" are the album's most bubbly tracks (pardon the pun) while the similarly spry "Flavor of the Weak" bears witness to the mistake of selling out: "Enjoy your fame because the time is brief / Fans of cheese always want fresh cheese / You went from on your ass to on your knees."

Among the slower, more rocksteady/reggae numbers, the title track is certainly a highlight, while "Bombs (Version)" intermittently explodes like a musical onomatopoeia. "Watch Out" is an anti-Big Brother head bobber that attests "It won't be long until it's gone: your rights and privacy / So watch out what you say / Because they might take you away / And it won't be long until it's gone: your freedom in the digital age."

While the more standard crust numbers like "We're All Immigrants" and "Back in the Day" are good, they don't quite stand out as much as those blended with traditionally Jamaican rhythms. Mouth Sewn Shut took a bit of a gamble, gearing most of their album around an embryonic style, but it paid off on Doomed Future Today, a crusty reggae creation that paints only the bleakest of images with its fluid musical fusion.