Music Reviews


Provisions, Fiction and Gear


Moth here pulls off one hell of a bait-and-switch number on their first major-label album. The way this thing starts, you think you’re hearing the second coming of cute-guy-post-punk-pop (think Blink, think Green): the blasts of guitar and simple-ass chorus of “I See Sound” are straight out of that TRL songbook. Singer/guitarists Brad Stenz and Bob Gayol even throw some lazy ska riffs and a huge metal sludge-bridge into the bridge like it’s some kind of collaboration between Sum 41 and Long Beach Dub All-Stars. It’s so damned… peppy! And so is “Thinking Please,” the second track, until you realize that there’s maybe a little Minutemen influence there, maybe Hüsker Dü too, or The Romantics… and damn, that rhythm section is foine!

And the more you listen to this album, the deeper you get hooked. They almost sound like a typical power-chording jump-around-wearing-long-shorts boy band, but every successive track shows a new influence, a pop sense from God, and the kind of sophistication that doesn’t hit you until you’ve heard it a few times. “Burning Down My Sanity” has a snaky ’80s-funk groove to it; “Plastics Campaign,” which actually seems to be about something (or at least against something: manufactured beauty) is very glam and prog for a 3:19 pop song; album closer “Not Really” is hushed, gentle, acoustic – could they have actually been listening to XTC’s Mummer and ELO’s Out of the Blue at the same time?

So what I’m thinking is that this is a great conspiracy: get the kids jumpin’ with the imitation Alien Ant Farm songs, then hit ‘em with the really interesting stuff later. Pretty sneaky, sis. And although Moth now features a new bassist and drummer, the dudes on this record were actually Josh Freese (drummer for A Perfect Circle) and Tommy Stinson (he played thunderstick for the frickin’ Replacements, fer chrissake). God help the new guys trying to re-create that sound; it just couldn’t be done.

Or could it? I’m intrigued, Moth-men, definitely intrigued by your mega-hybrid rock and roll. Just don’t be pigs like Blink-182 and ask the little girls to flash their boobies at your concerts. Do that stuff when you’re on your own or something. We need pop bands that use their powers for good, not evil.

Virgin Records:

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