“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him”
(Genesis 2: 17-18)
We were, all of us, born innocent and then found guilty.
God made us sick and commanded us to be well.
He filled us with desire and instructed us to deny those same desires.
He gave us pleasure and told us that to acknowledge it was forbidden.
A sacrament of His only begotten Son’s flesh and blood but we must see the sacrament of lust, desire and longing as sin.
Reach out and touch faith.
Mothermary are a glorious celebration of blasphemy.
John Lennon caused a stir by proclaiming The Beatles to be bigger than Jesus, Mothermary are not interested in playing such childish games, they go straight for the jugular of faith and the faithful by proclaiming themselves to be our God.
They do not flirt with religious imagery and iconography, they grab them, bend them and shape them to their own needs and desires. There is a raw, and powerful, sex, sexuality and sensuality that runs through every beat and every word of this album. Sex is the great foe of religion, it tells people that pleasure, joy and union are wonderful, precious and vital things…to be indulged and celebrated.
But this is not simply a raw, rampant, celebration of sex and sexuality like “W.A.P” (a vital moment in pop), this is more intelligent, more subtle and grander in vision than that. Fire, resurrection, prayer, desire, truth, devils and angels are here and all are filtered through the artistic vision of Mothermary.
Elyse and Larena Winn know enough about religion, and its dangers, thanks to their Mormon upbringing. Like so many religions, Mormonism helps to perpetuate a cycle of guilt and shame in followers. That starts in childhood and builds throughout adolescence.
The Winn’s, like me, would have been taught that they had free agency. But that “freedom” isn’t really freedom at all. Mormons are taught they can choose eternal life with God or captivity and death as a consequence of their “choices”. How free are we if the choice is death and captivity on one hand and life eternal on the other?
They would have been taught that it was the man’s responsibility to ask for, and to plan, dates. They would have been told to dress modestly, their are very clear guidelines for what “modesty” looks like…and it is very different for young women than it is for young men.
Sex, masturbation, desire, curiosity, experimentation, erotica…all would have been forbidden and, in their place, regular interviews about their “worthiness”, with those standards being repeated at home and in Church.
Read “For the Strength of Youth” to get an idea about what it looks like to be a young Mormon… and then listen again to “I Am Your God”. Everything will become much clearer.
But this isn’t an album for recovering Mormons, it is an album for anyone with a pulse. It is a pop masterpiece with dance floor fillers, razor sharp lyrics, incredible visuals and beats that drive deep into you. The religious themes are also universal, the video for “Coming For You” plays with Catholic iconography, visions holiness and purity sat side by side with sex and death. “Resist the Holy law…gonna leave the Devil in awe…I want to lead astray…so I’m coming for you”, makes it pretty clear what they think about the whole business of religion.
What is also clear here is that the Winn’s are students of pop/pulp culture, you can hear these songs on a Giallo score or in something by Lynch. This is pop music that is operating on a higher plane than the repetitive dum-dum-dum of rock and roll. It isn’t a huge stretch to see what is happening here as a piece of performance art, an attempt to confront an audience and to force them to think, then reject, things they had previously held dear.
This is the new Church.
"I Am Your God" from MOTHERMARY is out now via Italians Do It Better. For more information and to visit their store, click here.