Retro Review: ‘My Soul is Wet’ by Mutha’s Day Out

If there’s one thing you can say about My Soul is Wet,the 1993 album by Mutha’s Day Out, it’s that there’s a lot of variety on the album. Variety, is both a strength and, at times, a weakness from this band that hails from Batesville, Arkansas.

Mutha’s Day Out are local as far as I go. They’re from the same town I work in. They existed for a few years, 1991–1994, and released a single album, My Soul is Wet.

Of course, they’re probably best known for their brief appearance in the movie Mortal Kombat and the song they lent to that soundtrack “What U See.”

There was much more to them than just a movie appearance, though. They made it on Headbangers Ball and got a pretty dedicated fanbase in Europe. Oddly, just living half an hour down the road, you wouldn’t have known they existed. Thus was the world of the early 1990s. You had radio and MTV in rural areas when it came to hearing about music and that was about it.

Unfortunately, I missed the episode of Headbangers Ball that they were one, but I did catch Michael “Mikal Moore” Moorehead’s new band at Lander’s Theater, just a few weeks after Rwake’s first show (they were then calling themselves Wake).

I guess I would be wrong to say that Moorehead is “the vocalist.” There are actually three vocalists. Aside from Moorehead, there’s Brice Stephens and Randy Cross. Who handles which vocal tracks, I’m not sure. I unfortunately don’t have the sleeve for the CD before me and Wikipedia doesn’t say who sung on which track.

The rest of the band is made up of guitarists Chuck Schaaf and Lance Branstetter (not sure if he played on My Soul is Wet, though), bassist Jeff Morgan (now with the aforementioned Rwake), and drummer Rodney Moffitt.

The album

Stylistically, My Soul is Wet is musically kind of all over the place. It’s kind of like they tried to have a song in each genre they loved. The fact that there are three vocalists lends to this identity crisis, with each vocalist seeming to sing over a different type of song.

So, the album is kind of wild, with the old-school production sounding, and very short, “Ding Ding Man,” to the echoes of the Cult and Queensryche on “Memories Fade” and rap-infused stylings of “Get a Clue.”

The title track, “My Soul is Wet,” sounds much like the music that would be dubbed “Post-Grunge” within the following years. It’s a pretty good track, driven by the bass and drums, that incorporates the dark tones you found in bands like Soundgarden and Tad with a bit of the punk that inspired those bands. It’s a good raw-sounding song.

“My Soul is Wet” follows the rather heavy “Locked,” that has a catchy hooks that’ll keep you listening throughout the songs. The vocalist (I’m not sure which one) starts out strong, with vocals that seem to fall somewhere between Henry Rollins and Misfits-era Glenn Danzig. There was a video made for this song and I’m not exactly sure why it didn’t get airplay during the main hours of MTV, since it sounds like something you would’ve heard in their Buzz Block or Buzz Bin back then. It’s one of the best songs on the album and definitely deserves a listen.

After the slow-moving track and very personal track, “Green,” we get to the elephant in the room: “What U See/We All Bleed Red.” For most people, this is the only Mutha’s Day Out track they ever heard and that’s thanks to its inclusion on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack. And, let’s face it, “What U See” is an awesome song. From the long guitar and Moorehead’s scream that kicks it off to its whirling music and the vocalist’s (again, not sure which one) machine-gun delivery of the lyrics, it’s hard to restrain oneself from just headbanging along with it, no matter where you might be.

Of course, the problem with having a song like “What U See” as the song that introduces you to the world is that 90 percent of people seem to expect most of the other songs to be like it. And, the thing with “What U See” is that it’s one of those songs that are like lightning, in that it rarely strikes twice and bands either carry around a lightning rod trying to capture it again or move on to build on that song’s success without trying to repeat it. We never got to see what Mutha’s Day Out would do, though, as I believe they were already disbanded by the time the movie was out.

I am kind of wondering why “We All Bleed Red” is a single track with “What U See.” They are two very dissimilar songs and could’ve very well been separate tracks. “We All Bleed Red” is kind of an odd duck on the album. Unlike much of the album, this is more akin to a New York hardcore song, which is kind of odd considering these guys are from Arkansas. It’s still a good song, despite it being rather awkward in regards to the rest of the album overall.

Another song that stands out is “Blank Page.” The music during the verses reminds me a bit of “Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying?” by Megadeth if Les Claypool or Ronnie Trujillo played bass. It’s one of the bigger and more complex sounding songs on the album. Overall, it’s probably the most solid track in that Mutha’s Day Out blends all their different elements together pretty well. If they had stayed together and progressed as songwriter, I think this might have been a sign of the direction they would’ve gone.

From there, we get two pretty strong tracks, with the fast and aggressive “Breakfast First Please” and not-as-fast but twice as aggressive “Wait For Me.” Then things wrap up with what’s probably the oddest song on the album, “Ugly,” which is funky and very much in the vein of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Real Thing-Era Faith No More.

The verdict

There’s a lot of good songs on My Soul is Wet and “What U See” and “Blank Page” are definite must listens. If there’s one obstacle here, it’s that Mutha’s Day Out hadn’t nailed down a solid musical identity. They’re all over the place as far as style and sound, making it feel almost like a compilation album where several different bands contributed.

Like I said, they split the year after this was released. There are some live recordings on YouTube, which sound great. If they had stayed together, I think they would have nailed down a definite direction and there’s a good chance we’d still be talking about them today.

I’m biased, though. These are almost hometown boys for me after all.