Moose Blood

Blush

Written by: TL on 20/08/2016 15:51:16

Canterbury's Moose Blood drew immediate attention upon the release of their 2014 debut "I'll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time". Blogs and critics made favourable notes of how the English lads appropriated nuances of American emo and pop-punk in a way that tingled all kinds of feelings of nostalgia, enough so to quickly put the band on the alternative map internationally. This year it's time for the difficult follow-up, which has arrived in timely advance of the band's show here in Copenhagen, at Beta on September 25th.

Those nuances of emo that so distinctly characterise Moose Blood come from melancholy guitar noodling that does indeed bring to mind classic Jimmy Eat World tracks and the like, while guitarist and lead singer Eddy Brewerton brings the more current scene to mind with his whiny/talksy vocal style, which is perhaps best imagined as a slightly more detached or distanced Brian Swindle (from Have Mercy).

Oddly, though, aside from these things, the atmosphere and feel of the new album "Blush", isn't very emo at all. Rather, across the first seven tracks of the album's ten, the tempo and structure of the songs are nearly identical in five of them. All of these drive ahead with that straight-to-point kind of upbeatness that feels like a band just trying to map out a shortcut to radio-play - Which pretty much pulls any sense of depth out from under the emo notes. 'Radio rock with a thin coating of emo' would be a more apt description for the main course on the menu, the brightest point of which arguably is "Honey", which does best in the supposedly intended category of simple catchiness.

"Sulk" and "Sway" are the first numbers to really deviate, taking the tempo down a notch, and the latter, in particular, feels slightly more like something the band has had its heart in. Here you get an impression more in harmony with the pastel pink of the cover, namely that Moose Blood are more inspired to mix their emo and pop-punk rawness with the angsty yet funky pop-rock of something like first 1975 album. If you squint you can almost hear the similarity between Brewerton and Matt Healy's sort of performed moaning. The mellow "Shimmer" gets some sparks of recognition flying on repeat listens via a memorable enough verse and has some grand tremoloing going later, but isn't elaborated into quite the atmospheric piece that it was likely intended as.

Honestly then, "Blush" is kind of a disappointment compared to how fast Moose Blood have become known. The band hasn't really taken the things people have noticed about them and built them into something out of the ordinary. Instead, we have here sort of a nervous attempt at more mainstream attention, which feels lacking in imagination and confidence, and ultimately sort of superficial and uninspired.

Download: Honey, Sway, Shimmer
For The Fans Of: Man Overboard, Real Friends, Have Mercy, The Dangerous Summer
Listen: facebook.com/MooseBlood

Release date 05.08.2016
Hopeless Records

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