On their debut, Moose Blood proudly wears their ‘90s-emo-loving hearts on appropriately, studiedly tattered sleeves.
Absurd name notwithstanding, Canterbury’s Moose Blood excels in replicating heart-on-sleeve, autobiographically confessiona honesty in lyrics that was the mainstay of innumerable emo acts crisscrossing the U.S. in the latter half of the '90s and on into the new millennium. Nailing the posturing, guitar tones, nostalgia-inducing subject matter and appropriately anguished, though here accented, vocals, Moose Blood’s decidedly detached approach to revisionist emo adds a level of sheen lacking in the best works of their most direct influences. As with many in the recent wave of emo revivalists, Moose Blood shows off a sound clearly cribbed from a myriad of influences that finds their root in a very specific cultural aesthetic rather than a particular, universal well of emotionality, essentially amounting to more posturing than truly emoting.
All the requisite lyrical tropes, chugging guitars, loud/soft dynamics, shouted vocals and pounding drums are present, making for a somewhat disorienting, deja-vu-esque listening experience for those on the front lines of emo’s initial run. For newcomers, however, Moose Blood’s sound will no doubt hold a certain level of appeal. Given their Anglo-fied take on a largely American movement lends an air of intrigue to the proceedings. Accented vocals, softened, clipped consonants and misshapen vowels help to make the familiar sound in some ways new, but ultimately proves to be little more than an exercise in revisionist revivalism of the emo varietal.