The Three Daughters of Mara is the debut album from Dublin trio Badself. The album title refers to the Buddhist demons who represent the worldly pleasure of desire, lust and aversion and were sent to distract Buddha from his righteous path. Mara’s daughters sound like a right laugh. I’m not a fan of dogshit, but if a dog does need to defecate on a path, then hopefully that path is righteous.
Badself’s debut has an earthly feel to it and would probably shake Buddha out of his meditative state. Made up of former members of Future Kings of Spain and Bambi, Badself arrive with lots of ideas stripped down to their bare essentials. They were originally called the Black Triangle and the power of three permeates through their sound – it’s close-knit, taut and solid. Indeed the image of a triangle changing from equilateral to isosceles to scalene ran through my head after listening to The Three Daughters of Mara. Their sound pushes from one idea to another yet always retains a strong, defined shape.
The opening tracks “Stay Down” and “Daybreak” are straight-up rock songs and sets the tone for the album. They feature strong, driving rhythms overlaid with guitar licks and no-nonsense vocals. “Know It’s Wrong” and “Taken” are more ponderous and undulating while “Nobody’s Fool” is a great rock song which stays in your head. “Cure – Part 1” introduces a harmonica and brings up an image of a bar in the Wild West with the sunrise creeping through the shutters as the patrons lie around silently either drunk or dead. “Cure – Part 2” initially returns back to familiar territory but the song breaks down in to an interesting stop-start rhythm. “Flare” is somewhat reminiscent of Fugazi and, for me, is the strongest track. “Wait On a Call” maintains their tight, forceful sound while “Fall for the Placement” is a longer, swirling number. The album finishes off with the instrumental rock-out “T.B.T”.
It’s a confident, well-produced debut and it will appeal to fans of the Jesus Lizard, Shellac and Fugazi. There are some excellent ideas throughout but, in general, the tracks tend to be a bit too long. Nevertheless it’s well worth a listen.
The Three Daughters of Mara is currently available on Bandcamp and Spotify as well as iTunes and other retailers.