Review: Millie Manders and The Shutup – Telling Truths, Breaking Ties
By Jordan Onslow
In an era in which the world and the status quo deserve to be put to rights, MMATS succeeds in doing just that, with their aptly named debut album: Telling Truths, Breaking Ties.
The album is full of a diverse and powerful level of lyricism that explores themes such as love, bitterness and anger furnished by the powerhouse vocals of Millie, the frontwoman of the band. Behind her, an immensely empowering group of guitar and unique jazz brass complete a sound that never remains stagnant in this brilliant debut album, which promises to be the start of something great for the Norwich based band.
By the band’s own admission on their website, they describe themselves as “obnoxiously addictive” and as I found myself singing the lyrics to “Your Story” and “Burnout” whilst I was cooking, I realised what it was about the album that had made it sound so unique. MMATS know what they are, an amalgamation of alternative punk rock and rebellious flair that they will not change for any audience. They enjoy the music they make, which is never more apparent than in the final track “Burnout”.
Millie describes the track as “a love letter to everything we do and everything we go through as we chase our dreams” and is a perfect end to an introduction that has shown us just what it is that they do and the dreams they are pushing towards.
The album highs are many, with “Poor Man’s Show” which is full of political angst and activism and by far contains the finest lyricism in the album, whilst also showcasing the range of Millie’s vocals. It is a more subdued soothing track that gives gravitas to their criticism of capitalism. “Glitter Mix”, on the other hand, is a tour de force of mental health interpretation, which showcases that MMATS are multi-faceted in their lyrics, unrestricted whilst avoiding tipping into the pretentious as so many others fall short of.
“Your Story” is the first song on the album and my personal favourite. It is the most likely to become popular and propel the act into the general conscience, as it is the epitome of what the band is all about; energetic vocals backed by an undercurrent of triumph that leaves the audience feeling like they can do anything.
MMATS had a UK tour scheduled for 2020, which of course had to be cancelled and is due to be re-announced shortly. In the COVID era, there are few acts that I am as disappointed to be unable to see live than MMATS, as their infectious energy and passion for their music is perfect for shows and festivals and the stage presence of Millie herself cannot be understated.
This album is a promising first foray into the industry for Millie Manders and The Shutup. With this debut album, the band are not merely passively knocking on the door of the punk rock genre, this album is a sledgehammer.
4 out of 5
Telling Truths, Breaking Ties is available now