Moose Blood have captured a dedicated fan base very quickly. On one hand, it’s great, getting positive recognition for the music you make is fantastic. But for a relatively young band the pressure can be huge. There are more eyes on you while you grow and many “sophomore” releases stumble or succumb to that pressure. They either try to recreate the first album’s sound or shift and try something new. Moose Blood have used their second album, Blush, as a balancing act. While simultaneously creating tracks that reminisce the sound of their first album, they also produce tracks that bring new life to the band with a more ambient sound.
Heartbreak is a topic and theme that many bands write albums around. It’s an emotion that we have all gone through and resonates with us for a long time. Most of the time these releases can come off as too pandering to the listener, with overly emotional lyrics and content that seems too O.T.T. Blush is heavily influenced by heartbreak and nostalgia, but luckily does not completely fall into the trap. However, it’s hard not to hear it for what it is; essentially a re-release their first album but with more of an updated sound, with many tracks feeling familiar, although some still have a freshness to keep fans interested.
The albums starts with ‘Pastel’, easily one of the album’s best tracks. It’s upbeat in sound and allows you hear what Moose Blood want to be – it pulls you in, fast. Unfortunately, the album loses a little steam after that. ‘Honey’ feels like a IKYIMFTTT b-side, with the same sound and content. It’s a trend which continues with similarly structured songs, losing that edge so teasingly set out at the beginning.
However, the last four tracks restore life to both the band and album. Once ‘Sway’ begins, the flourish of new sound from the band arrives; ambient guitars and dynamic rhythm section fill your ears, while more interesting content is sang. ‘Shimmer’ builds up tempo and creates an explosion of sound, evoking memories of Brand New’s ‘Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis’, with engaging and sing-a-long repetition. ‘Spring’ and ‘Summer’ are connected by a beautiful transition, with the former a softer song about losing a love, while “Summer”, much like how the album started, provides an upbeat and strong close to the record.
Moose Blood have followed in the footsteps of many pop-punk and emo bands, while trying to create a sound unique to themselves. Blush is by no means a bad album, it just seems like out of the ten songs, five of them seem to be songs like we have heard before.
Blush is out now via Hopeless Records.