Hailing from Chicago, Illinois is a three-piece indie pop/punk band called The Moose who from the little information I could gather on social media, are dads who are really into their ‘dadliness’. They’ve just released their first full-length album after a long string of singles and EPs, the self-titled album has 12 songs for me to unravel and for you to read about, so let’s do it.
First up we have the song Waiting which serves as a solid introduction to the album, soft guitar opens the song in tandem with the vocals, the drums have a simple, rattling beat to them. The soft guitar and the somber vocals really set a tone, which climaxes in a way that really puts the punk into the pop with distorted guitar and fried vocals. Next up is Mid-Conversation, now this one calms down from the tone left by the first song, but builds up to it much quicker and features what was introduced in the climax of the last song, this gives the album a good sensation of continuity.
Song number three is Every Dollar which has a slightly darker tone with a prominent use of bass and lower, surlier vocals. The instrumentals are simple drum beats, picking and strumming guitar riffs as well as vocals that are reliable to what we’ve heard so far. States, a previously released single, begins with simple plucking but hits hard right at the beginning and plays on into a main hook of the song that makes for a catchy song. April is another previously released single, and this one goes pull pop punk from the get-go, giving contrast to the first few songs, which were pretty similar.
Ground is the next song and just like April, it does a splendid job of both breaking up the monotony but also revitalizing the album, there’s a groovy guitar and bass energy in it. The guitar shreds, the drums crash and the bass plays funky riffs while the vocals tiptoe in and out of the instrumentals and showcases something different from what we’ve seen on the album so far. Next up we’ve got Anything More, which most notably comes out of the gate with a really fast paced tapping of the drums, which forms kind of a juxtaposition as the guitar plays slowly alongside the drums. The song has a beautiful bridge section that leads into a big crashing, screaming chorus.
Next up in the songlist is New Years and it features a pleasant cooperation of the bass and guitar, which I found myself listening to more than anything, nevertheless the chorus hits hard and pays off with a wailing, screaming hook.
Selfish comes next and similarly to Ground it comes along at the right time to pick the album up as it relaxes and lulls and pumps some energy back into it. The heavy drums and guitars combined with the energized vocals really helps shock the listener back into focus, which highlights something that I find interesting about this album in that it reminds me of drifting off to sleep and jolting awake, as songs will be calm and relaxing but then abruptly shock you back to life.
Hide, Drink is a song that successfully builds up throughout its’ length, not to mention it has one of the catchiest choruses on this album. It’s remorseful tone blends nicely with the amped up instrumentals. Cross Country Basketball has a charm that is pure pop punk, it feels like an angsty anthem with an emphasis on fun. The bass has a head-bopping tune, the guitars and drums feel like a ride and the vocals have lots of light and dark in them, very fun song.
Last on the album is There Are No Words. This finale to the album brings it back to a quieter note with no more than a soft melody played on an acoustic guitar and a chorus of vocals humming, ‘ooing’ and ‘aahing’ harmoniously as the album that’s gone up and down over and over plays out.
My thoughts on this album is that while there are some parts of it that drag on a little, there’s always a song around the corner that really revs it back up which shows a real sense of care was put into the overall album structure which I feel is an underrated aspect of making an album. The Moose succeeded in making an album that had light and dark aspects to something very vanilla, it’s something you’ve undoubtedly heard before but it’s done in a way that feels refreshing.