With flares of excellence, Moose Blood return with their tricky third album I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore
Moose Blood have had a turbulent, yet meteoric, rise to stardom. At the forefront of the alternative movement, the band have an incredibly loyal, and at points, cult-like following. Their first album I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time, established two things about the band: they’re partial to a wordy title, and they have raw, unrivalled talent. However, I think it is fair to say that the band suffered a little from second album syndrome with Blush, it is not a bad album, but it just doesn’t boast that same spark as their first effort. With that aside, Moose Blood’s third album was always going to be their most career-defining. Having found continued success in America but dropping slightly from the UK radar, I feel as though I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore had to come right now; to cement their place in the alternative music scene. I listened to this one with apprehensive ears, praying for a dusting of that Moose Blood magic.
Have I Told You Enough is up first and it was also one of the singles released by the band just a few weeks ago. Luckily you can catch the thoughts of guest writer, Megan Foxen on this one here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/02/15/moose-blood-have-i-told-you-enough/. Without detracting from Megan’s sterling 4/5 Byte review, I must add that there is a certain vibrancy about this track. It is a great song, questionably one of my favourites on the album. While I am at it, allow me to address the other singles from the album. I was highly impressed with It’s Too Much, a single released slightly before Have I Told You Enough. It has a dark, brewing texture to it and works wonderfully as the closing track of the album. It leaves a strong message and it is certainly one that stands out among its peers. You can read more about it here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/01/16/its-too-much-moose-blood/. The first single that the band released and the one that finds its spot at second in the track listing is Talk In Your Sleep. For me, this was the weakest of the three singles. It felt as though it was more of the same and almost as if it could have been lifted straight from Blush. The chorus is catchy and the song has some quotable lyrics (which will no doubt be translated into merch designs and tattoos at some point in the near future), however, I don’t feel as though it fits the overall discourse of the album as a whole.
Now onto the juicy bit, the new music. Just Outside was an instant indication that this album could be a little different. Although on the surface, it follows the Moose Blood blueprint quite closely, it boasts moments of sheer excellence. Featuring flurries that vaguely resemble the riff in Deaf Havana’s Little White Lies, the track immediately gripped me. The bass is fruity, an element of the band that has deserved to be showcased a little more often in my opinion. The chorus lays Eddie Brewerton’s soothing vocals on top of more stretched shadows of his voice, the result of this is one that makes the “I was just outside” hook easy to remember. You Left In The Worst Way opens with a simple, yet atmosphere building drums and an unusually distorted guitar riff. Once again, the bassline is fresh and adds a great flavour to the song. The verse acts as a stage for Brewerton’s vocals to tiptoe over discussions of heartbreak and lust – quintessential Moose Blood. The bass continues to dance throughout this song, albeit a short little ditty, it feels like a nice pallet cleanser. All The Time is driven by a whining guitar riff, and it works wonderfully in encapsulating the essence of the band. The song continuously flirts with changing its pace and rhythm, as the band and Brewerton dip in and out. A little slower, in general, compared to its predecessors, All The Time is a nice hip swaying number. It may not change your life when listening to it, but it is nice to see them experiment with their sound a little more with this album.
I have reached the conclusion that Can We Stay Like This is not only one of my favourite tracks off the album, but also from the entire Moose Blood discography. Again, it has this vibrancy about it, something that is not often used to describe the sound of the emo-cult icons. The bass and the easy-on-the-ears chord progressions have an irresistible bounce about their sound. Lyrics such as “we used to make a bed on the floor and talk about nothing until the morning” reminds us that the demons of past and current loves are still at the heart of their work. Being a band full of ‘relatable’ lyrics, it is no surprise that they have grown in the magnitude that they have in recent years. The breakdown features even more quotable lyrics which we understand as a trademark of the outfit by now. Brewerton is the focal (or, vocal) point and with a little chug, we burst back into the hook of the song. It is wonderful.
Pull Me From The Floor keeps up the pace set by Can We Stay Like This. This track seems to blend the highlights of all the songs that have come before it into one. Merging strained vocals, benevolent riffs and the catchiest of hooks, this track is another one that you should listen to if you really want to get a flavour of what Moose Blood are about. It is an exercise in everything that the band do well in 3 minutes. Walk All Day With You brings the pace right down. The message of the song is beautiful, as always, however, musically this song is lacking the wow factor. Again, I struggle to distinguish how it differs from a number of tracks from Blush. Whether the band are trying to replicate the blueprint of the likes of Cherry, or not, they are certainly very lyrically talented and slowing down the music that hosts the message is not always essential in allowing their words to reach their audience.
Such A Shame shakes off the pedestrian nature of Walk All Day With You and bounces back in a fashion that forces you to bob your head. The chorus features the more aggressive side of Brewerton’s voice which, in my opinion, is always welcome. The highlight of this song is the breakdown. It builds drums and bass over a delicate riff, before exploding into a progression of vocals that are highly reminiscent of their early material. This song plastered a smile on my face, something that I know the band has the quality to do. Promise Me is the last fresh track on offer. The opening verse skips out of the headphones and into your ears. The chorus is of a similar ilk and has surely been written for its live qualities. However, the breakdown once again takes centre stage. It is atmospherically fulfilling and detonates in a way by which only Moose Blood know how. It couples perfectly with the more thought-provoking It’s Too Much which closes the album beautifully.
I love Moose Blood. Their music has been at the heart of so many of my fond memories over the past few years. Sun-roof open car journeys, long summers playing football and going for a cheeky couple at the pub, whether I was physically listening to them or mentally humming along, Moose Blood were always with me. I just feel that since 2014/5, I have lost my burning passion to talk about them to anyone that will listen. I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore is not a bad album, it is, in fact, a great one. There are some unrivalled moments of excellence, however, I there aren’t quite enough coming from a band of Moose Blood’s calibre. I am sure this album will gain a lot of traction, especially considering the loyal fan base that the band has. I just don’t feel like it has given me the burning excitement that I have come to expect from the band. Deciding my byteage for this album has been the hardest decision I have had since starting at WaveByte. I feel as though looking at the songs individually is not a fair reflection of the work, and for that reason, I have come to a conclusion. I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore is an album you must hear.