Following on from our recent review of Intastella's latest release, we are staying in Manchester for this month's second Uncharted Territory review as we pay a visit to The Moods. Since releasing their first studio album Oppositional Defiant Disorder in 2014, the band has now grown to a ten piece collective and today (29th September) sees the release of their follow-up record, Missing Peace.
As you might expect from an outfit that includes two vocalists, two rappers, one bassist, three drummers (two of which also play keyboard), a trumpet player and a classically-trained violinist, The Moods' sound is one packed with diversity. Ripping drum beats are garnished with exquisite melodic flourishes and flowing stream of consciousness raps segue effortlessly into well-crafted hooks. The sound that emerges is unique, often surprising and perfect for multiple listens.
Opening track P.O.P (Profit Over People) is a fast-paced discourse that swipes at immigration, tax avoidance, arms dealing and much more besides. Its chorus comes as an almost choral, preaching interjection between the brutal reality of the verses, a brief respite that only serves to enhance the power of the opinions on show. Slow builder Keep Your Powder Dry uses a similar technique whilst also acting as a bridge to the backs against the wall, fight to the death claustrophobia of Black Triangle. Gotta Get A Hold is a rare but necessary moment of joviality – it's on the money comparison of love to a 'hotpot with crusty bread' standing out as one of the album's lyrical highlights. Joy also serves to lighten the musical intensity if not the subject matter for a ebbing and flowing track that is accompanied by a video which is poignant and well-executed:
Atmosphere holds a delightful nostalgia of Manchester gone by. Speaking Tongues is Baz Luhrmann's Sunscreen for a new, more switched on, militant generation of free thinkers. Closing and title track Missing Peace fires a final shot of hope across the bows. Over a lingering brass backdrop that emerges like the rays of morning sun, a message of unity and defiance in the face of oppression is a perfect note with which to punctuate all that has gone before.
The fate of large musical collectives can often be the tale of two diverging roads. The first leads to disharmony as talented musicians get swept up in an egotistical maelstrom from which no-one emerges unscathed. The alternative is a creative melting pot where contrasting viewpoints and influences converge to create a heavenly fusion. Thankfully, The Moods have chosen to take the latter path.
In 2011, Chase And Status released seminal album No More Idols. Whilst clearly influenced by the work of Chase And Status, Missing Peace is draped in a darker shroud which, for me, takes it to another level. Where once there was euphoria, 2017 has brought a deep dissatisfaction and beautiful bile that courses through the tracks and jolts them to life. Each track strives for an immaculate complexity and the band's multi-layered approach felt akin to the structure of a jazz ensemble where each instrumentalist is given their moment in the spotlight. This is enhanced by the frequent and effective use of wordless interludes where the music is given its chance to speak and the listener is gifted a moment of contemplation to digest barrages of home truths. Missing Peace is political without feeling dry, partisan without feeling pretentious and in an era where every millionaire music mogul is clamouring for their money-making moment in the Trump-bashing milieu, it is refreshing to hear a band whose battlegrounds feel infinitely more relatable and authentic.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Lyric Of The Month
“They're giving you first aid//While they're stabbing you, stabbing you”
P.O.P (Profit Over People)
Manchester ten piece
Turn political mouthpiece
To find Missing Peace
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