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Moist
Mercedes Five and Dime
Capitol Records


On their third release, Moist have once again reinvented themselves. This sonic incarnation gives us a fuller, more mature sound than ever before, with smoother songs and less angst. The songs are more downbeat than on previous records, but the energy that Moist has always obtained remains. The record is an experience more than a collection of songs; a testament to the growth of the band as producers and as songwriters. There are many points on this record that I am subtly reminded of Collective Soulís earlier work, and I find that not only enjoyable to the ear, but heartening that bands are still taking the time to make great records that sound as fantastic as the songsallow.

"Underground" begins the record with its long, quiet introduction. The song virtually explodes with beauty when the first verse kicks in, leaving behind its quiet fortitude for an exuberance long wanting in pop music. Solid guitar prevails on "Push," the most alt-rock of the 11 tracks. This song would be a strong contender on AAA radio, if only the suits would put aside their squabbling and program great music. "Breathe" lays the record back into a slower, keyboard driven groove. It is an intriguing track, with a wonderful textural quality to the overall sound, and lyrics of quiet intensity. "If only I could breathe, what would you breathe, If only I could see what you see, if only I could just believe." Acoustic guitars and easy counter-rhythms take over on "Fish," a haunting track in classic Moist fashion. Electronics play their part without overshadowing the soul of the song, only adding to the beauty. This is possibly the most well arranged song Iíve heard in many months. "Comes and Goes" is back to a nice rock groove. Out Matchbox 20-ing Matchbox 20. It includes many great passages, including swirling, organ-like vocal harmonies in the bridge. "Dogs" gives us the moniker for the album, and so much more. It is a prime example of the songwriting prowess of this band, and their ability to weave imagery and beauty into the most difficult of human situation. "She picks me up like Iíve never been down before, and its hard to think you got the best of me yet, I canít believe while these dogs are at the door honey, you came to take apart whatís left of me." Strangely pleasant discord moves "Alive" along its path. This track is filled with slightly distorted vocals and strong aural affinities, creating a brooding ambience despite the odd jazzychords.

"Tonight" paints a simple and beautiful sonic picture, full of grasping heartstrings and etches of pain. The simplicity of the music belies the depth of the thoughts behind the song itself. With an emo-like intensity, "Pleasing Falsetto" barrels into the ears with a quirky melody and sweetly arpeggiated guitars. "Mandolin" is a track of folk sketches, resplendent with rich imagery and yesÖ mandolin. Moist explores their folky side here to great effect, fusing traditional instrumentation with modern sounds. It is a deadly combination, and one that they seem to have mastered. "Place" relies on its interesting rhythms and melodic guitar playing to set the mood for the heavy lyrical content. "She comes over, rips me open, right before my eyes, kills forever knowing full well we will all get by." Donít turn off the CD player yet, kidsÖ there is a secret track at the end for you to digest as well. Itís pleasant and rough, recorded in the guitar playerís living room.

These five Canadian lads have a penchant for creating brilliant, smooth rock music, with enough pop flavor to keep the album moving along at a good clip. Moist has once more proven that they are more than just a musicianís band; they are talented songsmiths and producers of extraordinary depth. They have an ability to make music that grows easily familiar, and yet retains its full depth of passion and understanding. Their growth as artists has been an amazing journey to watch thus far, and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

ĖDavid DeVoe

 

Track Listing:

  1. Underground
  2. Push
  3. Breathe
  4. Fish
  5. Comes and Goes
  6. Dogs
  7. Alive
  8. Tonight
  9. Pleasing Falsetto
  10. Mandolin
  11. Place


Mike Doughty



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