Closure In Moscow

Pink Lemonade

Written by: TL on 03/06/2014 10:26:24

When Australian quintet Closure In Moscow emerged in 08 and 09 they took the scene by storm, pawning financial stability in for a move to the US and a debut EP and LP each produced by the then rising producer Kris Crummett in a wildly ambitious gamble. A gamble that - amazingly - paid off, resulting in one of the finest and most surprising albums reviewed in these pages, the completely unique "First Temple", from which songs like "Vanguard", "Sweet#hart" and "A Night At The Spleen" still sound as refreshing as they did those five years ago. Considering just how explosive the band's arrival was though, the wait for a follow up has seemed endless, with only the smallest and strangest rumblings about the album dubbed "Pink Lemonade" escaping while the band made substitutions at drums and bass and fans started questioning whether anything would actually ever happen. Such concerns have now been proven futile however, as the "Pink Lemonade" has been flowing for about a month now, for which I can forgive you if you've been listening while asking yourself "just what have they been drinking?"

"Pink Lemonade" is mad. Mad as a hatter. Of course Closure In Moscow were already progressive and avant-garde on "First Temple", often enough verging on Mars Volta territory, but with the new album the band heads entirely off reservation and towards the realms of records like A Lot Like Birds' "Conversation Piece". Where "First Temple" was a futuristic dream, "Pink Lemonade" drips psychedelics into the vision with lengthy tracks that are much more trippy and twisting. It's a question in itself then, where to being "explaining" this album, but "That Brahmatron Song" is perhaps most symptomatic of the ranges explored by Closure In Moscow on here. Its groovy riffs are soon undercut by eerie, hinduist melody before breaking down into ambience, only to later return with marching doomsday samples, sounds of sirens and falling bombs and finally a woman moaning in ecstasy.

Other tracks of note include the following "Dinosaur Boss Battle" which reaches an early highlight when guitarist Mansur Zennelli's characteristic backing vocals join the fray, and earlier on the record the super funky "Seeds Of Gold" sees the band at perhaps its sexiest and most focused, making for a catchy break from the erratic compositions that dominate things elsewhere. For considerable stretches of the record however, the band indulges their every whim in a Fall Of Troy-esque "madness for the sake of madness" and consequently the ideas can't quite get out of each others' way, resulting in a song like the early title track ending up more memorable for the gimmicky female backing vocals towards its end, than for any presumably more primary elements in the song itself.

Less in terms of composition however, and more in terms of plain feeling, "Pink Lemonade" is noticeably less potent than "First Temple", for while the latter felt like the band members were completely immersed in each song, the new record seems more like they're striking a cheeky, flamboyant pose, and consequently feels more superficial and less engaging for it. Furthermore I'm missing some more of the seamless integration of Zennellis' airy backing vocals, which helped alleviate and contrast the sharp croon of main singer Christopher de Cinque in a much more striking capacity on the first album, as opposed to here where you rarely notice when the guitarist's voice appears.

Overall then, the verdict I think is actually as obvious as "Pink Lemonade" itself is labyrinthine. It is for certain a record to divide the waters between all interested parties. Those that never questioned if bands like Mars Volta or The Fall Of Troy weren't just being weird for the sake of it, will likely happily flush with the 'Lemonade down the rabbit hole of musical references. Those that were hoping for something to believe in or relate to however, will likely have moments looking back at "First Temple" longingly, as it decreases nostalgically in the rear view mirror. Me, I love me some experimentation, but so long as it is employed to carry a message or tell a story, and that impression is too fragmented, eclectic and occassional on "Pink Lemonade". So I must concede some slight feelings of disappointment, even with an album as complex as this - But then admittedly my expectations were perhaps unreasonably high.

Download: Seeds Of Gold, That Brahmatron Song, Dinosaur Boss Battle, Happy Days
For The Fans Of: The Mars Volta, The Fall Of Troy, Muse, Wolfmother,

Release date 09.05.2014

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