‘Ha, Ha, He.’ sees Mourn shed whatever conformed skin they still had, as they instead decide to pummel and pulverise with angst, distortion and volume.
Don’t be fooled; their previous, self-titled album had a hell of a lot of attitude itself. The record donned a pretty far-out opener called ‘Your Brain Is Made of Candy’ which coupled curiosity with calamity, enough to entice a listener. However, Mourn decided to kick things off this time with a real collision course of an instrumental; the song is called ‘Flee’ and it’s the musical equivalent of a group of people running through a window whilst carrying a large log.
The haunting vocals remain, this time with a bit more grit thrown in. This gritty addition pays off; every song has a pretty unique sense of emotion, even if the rampant, returning “expression, expression, expression” can get a bit tiresome. It never gets too tiresome though, and the vocal performances on ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘The Unexpected’ put the majority of their previous album to shame.
Stylistically, the album moves in one, edgy post-punk-based direction for the most part. That being said, the instrumentals aren’t completely familiar, definitely not in non-stop way, anyway. Going from ‘The Unexpected’ to ‘Storyteller’ is pretty cool, as the latter as a few calmer overtones; raking the eyes of the in-your-face fury of previous tracks.
The move into a general aggressive alternativerock sound was probably for the best; the band still holds onto a lot of fitting dustiness that their last album had. Their previous album felt like an abandoned, bug-infested shack, whereas ‘Ha, Ha, He.’ feels like that shame shack, but on wheels, and a little bit on fire.
‘Ha, Ha, He.’ has more than enough guts to make it a memorable album. The only real decisive complaint is that there isn’t really enough memorability on offer in the record’s short time frame. You can easily sense the band has enough uniqueness in its core to put out a really great rock album, and while this isn’t necessarily one, there is enough authentic determination to make it easy to dig.