Album Of The Week: Momma – Household Name

The LA duo behind the best 90s alt-rock of 2022 carve out their own niche with peerless ambition and attitude

Blame Wet Leg for the buzz. Any time anyone picks up a guitar in 2022 the comparisons start flying – even though Momma are about as far from a chaise longue as you can get while still singing deadpan indie. What they do share, though, is the sense that what we’re seeing now is the start of something huge. Momma aren’t a household name yet, but their wryly named third album proves that they’re already halfway there. 

Momma - Medicine (Music Video)

Self-awareness is everything. When they’re not bigging up their own soon-to-be greatness on the album sleeve, Momma are singing about wanting to “make a hit and run” on ‘Rockstar’ or winking at every other band they’re likely to be lumped in with. Wearing their influences proudly since their 2018 debut, the first track on Interloper opened with the word “Pavement” – and here they drop in references to ‘Gold Soundz’ along with nods to Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and every other American alt-rock band of the 90s. 

Yet as much as Household Name keeps one foot firmly in the past, it’s Momma’s freshness that keeps them moving forward – with Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten’s 21st Century spikiness landing with the sense that this could all only be happening here and now. 

Still in school when they formed the band (and still in college when their second album, Two Of Me, was released) Friedman and Weingarten bring as much teenage energy as they do teenage apathy – with brooding SoCal harmonies softening the fuzzy noise-pop guitars on songs about longing, driving, hating, regretting and doing all the stuff Billy Corgan was too shy to sing about on ‘Hummer’. 

Momma - Speeding 72 (Music Video)

Playing with the dirty fringes of shoegaze and dream-pop, Household Name keeps its lo-fi upbeat. ‘Speeding 72’ does everything the band wants to in one perfect single – a Californian highway anthem that feels like the best classic stoner track you never heard – and the first of so many that feel like they belong on the broken stereo of your first car. 

Root around for a bit longer in Household Name though and there’s darkness and depth to be found. ‘Tall Home’ broods with menace as “never disrespect me, I’m the f**ker down the street, I could be your everything,” gets snarled into the metal chorus with an Exorcist growl. Elsewhere, ‘Spider’ covers fear and self-loathing with sunny hooks (“everything is bad in me… They see what they wanna see, everything is bad in me”) and hard-edged closer ‘No Bite’ pushes into the dark of a bedroom no song should ever feel comfortable in.

Walking with the confidence of youth and indifference from the 90s to the 20s, Momma feel like the best of alt-rock’s past and future at the same time. Next time they’ll arrive with all their own buzz. 

Household Name is out on Friday 1 July. Find tickets for gigs and shows here.