OK people, it’s that time again. Phone off the hook. Do not disturb sign on the door. Dim the lights a little, and relax. There’s a new Moose Blood album, and it’s time to get emo.
It’s familiar and methodic: pseudo-pop emo
It’s been two years since we were treated to Blush and the Kent four-piece have had a rollercoaster ride. Highs included several world tours, Kerrang! award nominations and mainstream airplay. Lows included a spate of sexual harassment charges, the worst of which saw drummer Glenn Harvey leave the band. (Note: other claims have been strongly denied by the band.)
Musically speaking, I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore feels like the ass-print in your favourite seat. It’s familiar and methodic; pseudo-pop emo that tightropes between the catchiest lines you’ve heard and the most soul-destroying. Sadly there’s nothing really new; the formula was raw on I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time, monetised on Blush and feels a little stagnant here.
With that being said, fans of the band will still find lots to enjoy. Talk In Your Sleep feels like characteristic Moose Blood pop, with enough quotable lyrics to maintain a 15-year-old’s Instagram feed for weeks. Have I Told You Enough and You Left In The Worst Way follow on to showcase the best of the ‘rock’ side of the band.
On the flip side, sombre, cry-your-eyes-out emo is best found on Walk All Day With You, while the album closer, It’s Too Much, is probably the best jack-of-all-trades. “I think I’ve had enough/And I feel like I haven’t slept in months”; this is a desperate plea for help.
“I think I’ve had enough/And I feel like I haven’t slept in months”
Honestly, I’m pleasantly surprised. In context, the album fits; think not of IKYIM but of a Blush mark II and you’re already nearly there. The disappointment will come from fans of that first album who continually hark for a second dose. Like addicts seeking a fix, substitutes aren’t welcome and will often be met with hostility and anger.
But take my advice. Have a listen, perhaps even to the older work. Then go and see them live. This isn’t a band made for the radio or the record. This band excels in a tightly-packed, sweaty room. Kick in with three counts and a snare, follow through the intro to Bukowski before breaking to silence to tear the roof off with hundreds or thousands of “Bukowski’s growing old…” screams. That is where you’re going to find the real Moose Blood.