Since 2000, Mos Generator has set the standard for underground songwriting and production value. While the band might not have the same number of streams as an Electric Wizard or Clutch, there’s a certain confidence within the Mos Generator persona that simply says: The music matters most of all.
Led by tireless songwriter and producer Tony Reed, Mos Generator has pumped out critically-acclaimed album after critically-acclaimed album. And although the public response may occasionally be lukewarm, the band has racked up years of accolades.
With the band’s latest album, Time//Wounds, we encounter Mos Generator at the band’s most complex, most ambitious, and most carefree.
Time//Wounds is a special sort of album. Although it was arranged and recorded in the summer of 2021, some of the musical themes go all the way back to 1989—back when Tony Reed was especially inspired by the Prog Rock of the ‘70s and the Alt Rock of the ‘80s.
The resulting album contains the precision and control of a band that’s been hard at work for more than two decades mixed with the recklessness and indomitable spirit of young, inspired musicians.
With that in mind, Time//Wounds is a sort of rebirth for a band that always blazed its own path. Like many Mos Generator albums, Time//Wounds is packed with electrifying multi-section songs, but this album is more eclectic, more carefree, more exciting. There is always a surprise waiting around the corner.
Check out our podcast episode with Mos Generator frontman Tony Reed for additional perspective:
About Mos Generator
Based in Port Orchard, Washington, Mos Generator is:
- Tony Reed (vocals, guitar, mellotron, synthesizer)
- Sean Booth (bass)
- Jono Garrett (drums)
Tony Reed, who is also known for his production capabilities, was also responsible for “all sonic manipulations” at HeavyHead Recording Co.
In Time//Wounds, Mos Generator has written an album about time, the toll of chasing dreams, and the regrets of missed opportunities. This album has a ton of influences, including King Crimson, Radiohead, Motorpsycho, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd. Despite that diversity, this is an extremely cohesive album!
Time//Wounds Album Review
Label: Bremerton Gray Music
Track 1: Aja-Minor
“Aja-Minor” kicks off with a tight guitar riff backed by a bouncing bass line and precise drums—exactly what we can come to expect from Mos Generator on Time//Wounds.
Lyrically, we dip our toes into the discussion about time—a theme Time//Wounds returns to over and over again. In “Aja-Minor,” we even hear the album title (without the backslashes): “Time wounds” before “time heals.”
Like many songs on the record, “Aja-Minor” is a multi-sectional delight, often switching between riffs and solos.
Track 2: (Don’t) Wait Until Tomorrow
Digging deeper into themes of time, “(Don’t) Wait Until Tomorrow” relies heavier on acoustic guitar than “Aja-Minor,” and that allows Tony Reed’s vocals to come through softer and more rhythmic.
As you might expect (if you’ve listened to any amount of Mos Generator in the past), the band eventually abandons the soothing acoustic guitar for a raucous Rock ‘n’ Roll section.
Track 3: Burn Away the Years
“Burn Away the Years” opens on two power lines:
Here comes another birthday song
To make you disappear
Despite the serious subject matter, there’s a certain playful musical quality in this track that makes the lyrics easier to digest.
Track 4: Getting Good At Revenge
A high-octane song about getting revenge, this song also contains the best couplet on the album:
I’m getting good at revenge
I’m getting good at goodbye
And while there’s plenty to love on this song, it’s Jono Garrett’s drums that are most impressive here.
Track 5: Only Yesterday
“Only Yesterday” sounds like something you would have heard on the radio in the ‘90s, exploiting the loud/quiet/loud template and mixing it with the fast/slow/fast approach—at first. “Only Yesterday” eventually transforms into another exciting Mos Generator romp.
Track 6: Until We Meet Again, Pt. I-IV
As you might expect from a four-part song, “Until We Meet Again, Pt. I-IV” is long, running nearly 15 minutes (interestingly, another album we reviewed recently, Caustic Casanova’s Glass Enclosed Nerve Center ran extremely long—22 minutes).
Even with that length, “Until We Meet Again, Pt. I-IV” is worth every second. Intricate and unpredictable, this track is packed with explosive riffs, emotional highs, and guitar solo flourishes.
And while I generally hate editorializing in this section of a review, I will also mention that “Until We Meet Again, Pt. I-IV” is my new favorite Mos Generator song (replacing “Lonely One Kenobi”).
Final Thoughts On Time//Wounds
Final Score: 9/10
Standout Tracks: “Aja-Minor” and “Until We Meet Again, Pt. I-IV”
Pros: I’m a sucker for a strong concept album, and Time//Wounds is thematically and sonically tied together from beginning to end.
Beyond that, though, this album is incredibly engaging. With its unpredictable songwriting and musical surprises (like sudden time signature shifts and wild guitar licks), this is an album that’ll catch your attention without you realizing it.
But this isn’t an album that relies on shock value. Time//Wounds packs an emotional punch—especially on “Until We Meet Again, Pt. I-IV,” where we finally hear a few incredible, heart-wrenching melodies.
Cons: It’s amazing how much of Tony Reed’s songwriting from 30 years ago still shines through in his songwriting today. If Time//Wounds is a partial snapshot of where Reed was as a musician in the ‘80s and ‘90s, then Mos Generator has created a sort of retroactive bookend for the beginning of their catalog, as Time//Wound stands up well against recent albums like Shadowlands and Nomads.
Still, I wonder if Time//Wounds would be stronger with more elements of early 2000s Mos Generator. The Late Great Planet Earth employed a variety of heavy Psychedelic tones, while Songs For Future Gods pulled much of its riffage from the Black Sabbath playbook. Placing Time//Wounds’ heavy lyrics against a heavier guitar tone may help give the entire album a heavier punch.