Emo is a genre that has been greatly misunderstood in recent years. Ask the majority of people today and they would associate the word emo with bands like Black Veil Brides and some would even mention “goths” – the word which has literally became an insult recently, particularly in Scotland. However, there is now a new wave of emo bands breaking through who couldn’t be further from this stereotype. Bands like Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms are still emo bands, but they are far more accessible acts. They are emo in the sense that they are known and adored for their brutally honest, autobiographical and emotional lyrics – after all, that’s what emo is short for.
Another example of this type of modern emo band are Moose Blood. The Kent four-piece recently released their sophomore album, Blush, following on from 2014’s debut I’ll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time. One of Blush’s great strengths is just how accessible it is while still shamelessly being an emo album from an emo band. Everything about the record, from the pink-and-blue pastel artwork, to the 10-track format, to the song titles (in accordance with the album’s name, every track has a one-word title, with the first track titled Pastel, which ties in brilliantly with the artwork) screams pop.
Speaking of Pastel, it’s an extremely effective opener that wastes no time in setting the tone for the early part of this album. The first 5 tracks are full of clean, fast-paced guitar and drums, and massive catchy choruses are a hallmark of this record, as the more rugged edges of Moose Blood’s debut make way for something more poppy and bright, but the resultant sound is still textbook Moose Blood.
Woven throughout this record are Eddy Brewerton’s endlessly relatable lyrics, such as “you’re my favourite when you’re smoking on the pavement, you’ve got your collar up, you’re taking too much, and god damn it’s cold” from the outro of standout track Cheek. After Cheek, this record slows down significantly and reveals a more tender and melancholic string to Moose Blood’s bow. Shimmer is a track which hears Eddy muse over an ex with some distant guitar strums in the background, while Spring is a heartbreaking song directed at a friend who has committed suicide, featuring the quite beautiful lyric “you know I don’t believe, But I guess you watch over me”.
After this lull, closer Freckle is a return to the poppier, upbeat tracks that make up the first half of Blush, which completes the record perfectly by bringing it full-circle sonically, which brilliant closes a truly brilliant emo album, in all the correct senses of the word.
– Andrew Barr (@weeandrewww)