Moist – Glory Under Dangerous Skies

Moist - Glory Under Dangerous Skies

Moist’s comeback album Glory Under Dangerous Skies

There’s a definite limited expectation toward the idea of a new album from the recently reunited band Moist. Known primarily for their distinctive style of alternative rock from the 90s, they were one of, if not the biggest band in Canada for a short period.

They quickly rose to prominence on the CanCon alternative scene and MuchMusic with their first album Silver in 1994 and gradually faded by their third record five years later. Any recollection of Moist is limited to what they brought in that span.

As for what they can bring two decades later, they pretty much have two options. Stick with what they did and hope to attract old fans with the power of nostalgia, or try to fit in with today’s rock musical landscape and hope something sticks.

Judging by the album’s first single Mechanical, they chose the first option and in doing so, achieved something few bands are able to after such an extended hiatus. They’re honed in on their best sound and recreated it into new material, as if they never took a break at all.

Two songs into Glory Under Dangerous Skies and it’s like listening to Moist at their peak in the 90s. After Mechanical is Broken, which could pass as a nephew of Push. The record sticks closely to the sound they became known for, with lyrics that are poetic and angsty but at the same time, larger than life and time, and observant. They have a way of making you feel like a small blip in a very large space but still everything connects to you.

Even beyond that, they can still deliver great lines that just jump out of the songs. Lines such as “I believe what we see/can’t exist without history/we are reached through insecurity,” and “what you could call true/dispels any other lie,” from God Is In The White Rice, and “we ran to Jesus to be saved/fill the hole inside me/a little trick to fool us all/you fooled us all” from The River.

The smooth transition across 15 years between albums could be attributed to the band members’ continued involvement in music after Moist. Mark Makoway and Jonathan Gallivan did songwriting and production with other artists, while David Usher released albums of his own following his debut solo record Little Songs in 1998. He followed it up with seven more between 2001 and 2012.

Yet, despite his own successful solo career and reputation as a songwriter and musician, there’s a clear distinction between that and the sound of this record. Glory Under Dangerous Skies is purely a rock album, complete with guitar solos throughout and enough energy to make you feel young again.

As a band, they sound as great as they ever have and as a comeback, they’ve achieved what any good comeback sets out to do. Rekindle interest through nostalgia and outdo themselves doing it. They’ve delivered what any fan of Moist or 90s Canadian alternative would want and really, it’s kind of the point.
Four stars

Tracklisting
1. Mechanical
2. Broken
3. Bayou
4. Comes The Sun
5. The River
6. Glory Under Dangerous Skies
7. Morning Dies Here
8. Black Roses
9. Still I Won’t Look Down
10. God Is In The White Rice
11. All Forgiven

Banks – Goddess

Banks - Goddess

This year has been generous for new and emerging artists. With most superstars between albums, many newcomers have the opportunity to show off their talents and become the next wave of big names. Banks‘ debut album was among the most anticipated new releases for 2014 as she faces the challenge of not getting lost in the shuffle.

The first thing that jumps out about Goddess is the incredible amount of deep synths that pulsate throughout. Although sometimes overdone resulting in blending between tracks, particularly in the middle of the record which doesn’t grab as well as either end, it does wonders adding to the atmospheric depth to it, making the record darker and moodier than it would have been otherwise. Continue reading

No Platinum albums in 2014 – not so fast!

RIAA

The subject of low record sales isn’t news anymore. In fact, it’s such a non-news issue that it’s become the standard mindset for music media. Whenever it does become a topic of discussion, it is due to a new angle depicting the same armageddon of the music industry.

This week, it was widely reported that 2014 has become the first year no albums have been certified platinum since the RIAA began issuing platinum certifications in 1976. Basically, album sales have dropped so much that no albums have sold a million copies.

But it isn’t really that simple, nor is it really the full story. Here are a few things to help put this into context: Continue reading

Sondre Lerche – Please

Sondre Lerche - Please

Hardly a year goes by that Sondre Lerche doesn’t have a new project out, whether it’s a studio album, a live record, a jazz collection or a Hollywood movie soundtrack. Some years, he releases more than one. 2014 was one of those years, where he headed up the score for Norwegian indie film The Sleepwalker, directed by his (now ex-)wife Mona, and just recently he released his seventh proper album Please – which is centred around the ‘ex’ situation.

Please is a divorce album. Songs that acknowledge the change – pre and post-separation, the loss, the appreciation of having loved, with lyrics that are sometimes painfully direct accompanying music that is oddly upbeat. Continue reading

I just came to say Ello

When Facebook made the requirement that users had to use their real names, it became an opportunity for the so-called “anti-Facebook” social networking site Ello to swoop in and make itself known to those who had grown fed up with that and Facebook’s other frustrating actions.

Ello initially launched in March but it wasn’t until last month that it suddenly started to take off. The invitation-only site bills itself as being different from other social networks in that it claims to never sell personal information to advertisers, doesn’t use advertising, has zero-tolerance toward abusive behaviour, and won’t enforce a real-name policy. Continue reading

Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins has a plot that dabbles in tragedy several times over. The film is centred around the rekindled relationship of twins Milo (Bill Hader) and Maggie (Kristen Wiig). One is that they haven’t spoken in ten years and when they’re brought back together, they actually make a great pair who seem to really enjoy each other’s company.

The other, and most obvious, is that they never would have crossed paths again if it weren’t for Milo’s suicide attempt, which ironically prevented Maggie from attempting her own suicide on the other side of the country. Continue reading

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