Moose Blood’s rise through the Emo-Revival scene has been nothing short of stratospheric. 2014’s debut-I’ll Keep You in Mind from Time To Time-rightfully earned the band the kind of cult-following that every underground band craves. Channelling the sound of 90’s emo, and 00’s pop-punk-the lyrical maturity on this album set the band apart from their pop-punk peers.
Having out-grown No Sleep Records, the band signed with indie-powerhouse Hopeless for their hotly anticipated sophomore record. The resulting ‘Blush’ was a strong, albeit safe record; accomplished pop-punk to say the least, but slightly lacking the raw, emo edge of its predecessor. What it lacked in cutting-edge, it more than made up for in song-writing strength. The hooks and musicianship on here showed clear progression from the band’s previous work.
This brings us to Moose Blood’s third album-‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’. Make no mistake about it-this is Moose Blood’s finest work to date. The band have successfully combined the strengths of both previous records to make something really rather special. Opening with ‘Have I Told You Enough’, the winning combination of power-chorded rhythm and twinkling lead guitars, evoke similar feelings to Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Futures’; a melancholic nostalgia, delivered with pop-punk’s eternal optimism. As album openers go; it’s damn near perfect.
Singles ‘Talk in Your Sleep’ and ‘Just Outside’ follow. The former, treads the old emo trope of a failing relationship, but does so in a way that feels fresh and new. Eddy Brewerton’s everyman croon truly captures the feeling of sadness and regret as the end is in sight. You believe him when he sings ‘This could’ve been so different; it’s just too hard to move on from it yet’.
Conversely, ‘Just Outside’, deals with a friend struggling with their mental health. Brewerton confronts his own frustrations about his friend not confiding in him, while at the same time trying to help his friend ‘get over it’. The lyrics, while uncharacteristically clumsy, show how hard it can be to confront mental illness. If nothing else, Moose Blood should be praised for singing about what is an all-too-real scenario for many bands, and fans, within the genre.
Alongside the lyrics addressing a plethora of different topics; there is some very solid musicianship on show. The rhythm guitar work on tracks such as ‘You Left in the Worst Way’ and ‘Pull Me From the Floor’ is reminiscent of early Foo Fighters, and latter-day You Me at Six, ensuring that the emotional lyrics are delivered with an underlying distorted punch.
Conversely, the lead guitar demonstrates the band’s obvious love of 90’s emo; shimmering its way through tracks such as ‘All the Time’ which is not unlike the guitar work on Jimmy Eat World’s clarity, and the guitar effects used by American Football on their 2016 release. Similarly, the band braves the use of delay pedals on ‘Just Outside’, to great effect. The use of this technique was first heard on ‘Blush’, but the band has perfected it on ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’, without sounding too much like-whisper it-U2!
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The undoubted highlight of the album; is penultimate track ‘Promise Me’. Singing about old homes, and how you can’t go back to the past; this track is emo-revival perfection. Seemingly capturing the essence of the album in one track; the melancholic lyrics combined with soaring, pounding guitars is an absolute face-melter, and hits the listener right in the heart. It is almost guaranteed to be a favourite of the band’s live set for the foreseeable future.
As the final, mournful notes of ‘It’s Too Much’ ring out, there’s no doubt that the listener has been on quite the emotional journey. The beauty of Moose Blood’s music is that, it may be emotionally exhausting, it’s delivered with just enough pop-punk flair that this record never feels like an effort to listen to. This combination of emotional resonance, and pop-punks hooks should ensure that Moose Blood’s star continues to shine, and their stock in the world of modern emo will continue to rise.
‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore’ is out now. The full track listing is…
1. Have I Told You Enough
2. Talk In Your Sleep
3. Just Outside
4. You Left In The Worst Way
5. All The Time
6. Can We Stay Like This
7. Pull Me From The Floor
8. Walk All Day With You
9. Such A Shame
10. Promise Me
11. It’s Too Much