Tag Archives: Moose Blood

Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time

oosemoA year and a half ago, I ranted and raved about a debut EP that, for me at least, evoked the spirit of a seminal record – Brand New’s Deja Entendu. At the same time, I was railing against my own apathy towards listening to artists of a similar vein. Well, 18 months and one Spotify Premium subscription later means I am now au fait with everything considered part of the ‘emo revival’, (although I still think emo is a bit of a gross term). For example, Into It. Over It.? All over it! Touché Amoré? Oui Oui! Modern Baseball? More of a rounders man, but you get the picture.

So it’s with some excitement that I’ve been following Moose Blood – responsible for the aforementioned debut EP – and the news that they got picked up by No Sleep Records for their debut album. The label is a U.S. indie, home to a whole raft of excellent bands, including two of the three named above in my best efforts to be pun-tastic. The band flew out to the U.S. to lay it down, and returned with I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time, an album that showcases everything that made so many people excited about their initial output.

While both a theoretical and literally name-checked reference point may be Brand New – with their dark and morose slant on life and death – this is, for the most part, an aspirational record. It easily evokes memories of young love, of times when you would invite someone round to “watch American Beauty” (on ‘Gum’), and “make you watch High Fidelity, on a Sunday, maybe someday” (on ‘Bukowski’).

So they are strong thematically, but this record goes beyond just what’s happening lyrically. For example, ‘Kelly Kapowski’ is more than just a retro name check. It presents a twitchy, over-caffeinated call for something approaching an unrequited crush, while channelling pop-punks finest guitar riffs. Closer ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’ sounds super-heavy, channelling the likes of Gnarwolves with its yelped vocals blurring into grunge-lined anthemia. Over the course of the record, they easily switch gears, and previous single/E.P. tracks like ‘Boston’ and ‘Bukowski’ sound somewhat more urgent and more focused in their latest guises.

Above all else, what keeps me coming back is how much of an honest and stark record it is, yet  a record that leaves you with hope. Allow me one final Brand New reference, but let me use it to explain why these guys are different to them. Brand New typically stick their bleak, emo-slow jams at the end of the record (‘Soco Ameretto Lime’, ‘Play Crack The Sky’), and so leave you feeling a little, well, emo at the end of a listen. Moose Blood front-load ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time’ with ‘Cherry’. It’s a dark way to start, particularly with a line like: “She’s not mine and it fucking kills me, she won’t look at me that way.” Following this opening, the album grows with moments of excitement, love, and happiness. By the end we’re finishing on an upbeat note, well, ish: “I guess I’m feeling better,” even if we’re now chanting for another’s misery on ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’.

This is a band worth getting excited about. It’s a mature and beguiling debut album by a band that, surely with 10 years more of records behind them can lead some lazy blogger somewhere comparing them over and over (three times I’ve counted?) to some new up-and-comers. Truly, it’s something many of us should be hopeful for.

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Moose Blood – Moving Home EP

bnDeja Entendu by Brand New is likely the defining record of my short 25 years on this planet. That or Infinity Land by Biffy Clyro. Or maybe Spoon’s Girls Can Tell, and of course Ted Leo and The Pharmacist’s Shake The Sheets. But before I wander off into naming my favourite 100 records of all time (something I absolutely want to do now), I want to return to Deja Entendu. Both musically and lyrically, it was unlike anything I had come into contact with before. Melodic hooks, fiercely personal lyrics, it was full of ups and downs. I formed such a connection with it, and it’s a record I come back to so often. It feels so complete, without a wasted moment.  Not for a second would I ever categorise myself as being anything remotely emo, but that was the brush that Deja Entendu was often broadly painted with. Either way, I just love that record.

The odd thing is, I never really branched out from that record and that band into listening to their peers and contemporaries. There’s no simple reason, and no logical explanation – but looking at the similar artists on Spotify for Brand New – Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, Finch, Thrice – I couldn’t name any of their tracks. OK, Manchester Orchestra are the exception to that rule, and of course I’m a huge fanboy of every other record that Brand New have made, both before and after Deja Entendu.

mbSo I’m excited to have stumbled across Canterbury’s own Moose Blood, and their debut EP, Moving Back Home (Fist In The Air / Day By Day Records). It certainly channels that Brand New spirit, but there’s way more to them than just that.First up, they know that lyrics are just one part of the jigsaw, shown by an instrumental track called ‘My Own Boat’ that opens the EP. This, along with the fact they like to eschew traditional songs structures here and there by reaching a chorus and stripping out vocals again, like on ‘Carbis Bay’. And on ‘Drive’, we don’t even get a chorus as the track just cruises along for just over two minutes.

Thematically the EP covers interesting and varied ground: love (plenty), god (a Brand New favourite), coffee, Dashboard Confessional (one of those peers I haven’t given a chance), and cultural influences, such as High Fidelity and Bukowski (my favourite author by a country mile right now). They also play the trick that Brand New would often reserve for the odd chorus here and there – that of two vocals harmonising, with one tracking along a fair bit higher, but Moose Blood do this almost all the time.

And then besides all the deeper meaning that we could spend forever analysing, they just sound good. Nothing overly complex or unique, but guitars, bass and drums working together like they should. The final track ‘Bukowski’ is probably my favourite as the drums snap and bite during the verse to spike the guitars lying over the top.

It’s an arresting debut record that I’ve been playing over and over for a while now, and it makes me excited to hear more. If not only for the reason that a Google search will turn up more results for the band instead of images of moose carcasses.  Have a listen to Bukowski below, and you can buy the EP for £1.99 on their Bandcamp page.