Album Review: The Mommyheads — Coney Island Kid

It’s like they never left! While New York City band the Mommyheads were reasonably prolific during their initial run, releasing five albums in a decade, the group went quiet for some ten years after that. And when they returned circa ‘08, the group embarked upon a two-track approach: they reissued expanded version of their earlier work – getting it in front of a new audience who missed it the first time ‘round – and served up a tasty succession of new releases as well.

These days The Mommyheads produce about an album (and a coffee mug to match it) nearly every year. And the quality never flags. Their latest, Coney Island Kid is excellent both on its own merits and as the latest in a succession of an unbroken run of top-notch releases (following on from 2020’s New Kings of Pop, Age of Isolation in 2021, and 2022’s Genius Killer).

While the Mommyeads are nominally alt- and/or indie-rock, the character of Coney Island Kid is as much prog- and/or art-rock as anything else. And while those undercurrents have long been part of the inventive group’s style, here the ambitious arrangement seem more pronounced. And that’s all to the good. The opening title track is as wide-screen wonderful as anything in the group’s large body of work. In fact it likely ranks among the Mommyheads’ most shining musical moments.

The songs on Coney Island Kid combine strong melodic sense, arrangement that invite close listening, and the band’s trademark thoughtful and intelligent lyrics. There are hints of melancholy throughout the record – hey’ it’s been a few tough year – but there’s also a durability of spirit on display throughout the record.

It’s uncommon for an artist to reach a creative peak decades into their career. It’s rare still to sustain said peak across multiple releases. With Coney Island Kid, the Mommyheads have done both.