Mulligrub – “Europe” (Stereogum Premiere)
Winnipeg trio Mulligrub make the sort of hard-won bittersweet and ramshackle punk that gets under your skin. Last year, we spotlighted “Sprite Zero Slushie,” a prickly track that appeared on a suicide prevention benefit compilation, and is also included on Soft Grudge, the band’s upcoming debut full-length. “Europe” also appears on the album, and it’s a powerful but conflicted condemnation of a friend who turned out to be anything but. Vocalist and lyricist Kelly Grub explains:
…This song is mostly about a friend of mine who turned out to be a sexual predator. It became a sort of response to narratives I’ve heard against ‘kicking out’ predators or violent people from communities. In this case and many other cases I have witnessed, this person got so many chances to be accountable and educated and instead chose to deny, blame, disappear, and hide from responsibility and change. So it was not a kicking out at all – everyone wished he would take the chances he was given, but he didn’t want to hear it and he ran away. Which is just a terrible way to lose a friend so I work this song to work through it.
The first two-thirds of the track are occupied with the friendship part, slices of life that exemplify the deep memories we forge with other people — “Sneaking to the bathroom to shotgun a lucky seven,” “The river looks like a rainbow tonight/ I could walk on it/ You tell terrified and you tell me not to try.” On the last verse, however, the music picks up and all of the anger seeps through, and those previously treasured memories are turned to dust. “Where are you now?” she cries, wishing she didn’t know the answer: “You’re getting drunk in Europe/ You’re fucking up your last chance to get back the home, the friends, the family, you abandoned.” There’s only so many chances you can give a person before you need to cut them loose, a sad and fragile reality of life. “Europe” exhibits all of that frustration and disappointment and more. Listen below.
Soft Grudge is out on 4/23. They’ll be playing a release show that day with Animal Teeth and Cannon Bro’s at the Goodwill Social Club in Winnipeg.