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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Moose Blood’s raw vocals shine on ‘Stay Beautiful’

Moose Blood

"Stay Beautiful"

Intimate, personal tracks combine with raw vocals in the U.K.-based quartet Moose Blood’s newest release. The group made waves with “Stay Beautiful,” a two-piece acoustic Spotify exclusive, released Sept. 8. Following the release of its second full-length album, “Blush,” “Stay Beautiful” is a coupling of two songs that successfully encompasses the two themes that are most prevalent in Moose Blood’s music: family and love. Its deeply personal lyrics translate beautifully into the stories told by the E.P.’s tracks, “Glow” and “Knuckles.”

The first track, “Glow,” opens up with slow, melodic guitar strumming, which sets a melancholy tone for the rest of the track. The instrumentals are followed by the lyrics, “I said goodbye today / I just watched you drive away / I just stood with mum and waved.” The combination of Eddy Brewerton’s raw vocals and the guitarist’s soft melodies add a heartwrenching touch to the song. The lyrics provide insight to the difficulties of being separated from one’s father, while sweet melodies and instrumentals envelop the listener.

Released as a single on Jun. 1, “Knuckles” is a true anthem to those who have experienced unrequited love. Opening up with the lyrics, “It wasn’t hard to fall for you / You had it all planned out, didn’t you,” the song offers an introspective look at love. The track builds on this knowledge, providing slow, low instrumentals to accompany it, adding to the emotion. It continues later with “That thing you said, stay beautiful / Even though that I know that it’s second hand,” providing more evidence of the heartache being felt by the artist while also referencing the name of the E.P., “Stay Beautiful.” During the last run-through of those lines, there are moments of unaccompanied vocals where the listener is left with nothing between them and the music. It’s a period of reflection for both the listener and the musician.

Despite the song’s holding entirely different meanings — coming from both ends of the Moose Blood spectrum of writing — the main differences lie in the instrumentals. The first track’s lyrics are accompanied by soft, acoustic guitar, complementing each other with musically harmonious, yet somber chords. The instrumentals do not drown out the lyrics, either: Each is set at a volume that makes one clearly distinguishable from the other.

“Knuckles” replaces the acoustic guitar with an electric one. This challenges the idea of the song being an “acoustic” version, but because the chords are being played slowly and clearly, it still has the same effect. However, the louder, more dynamic sound of the electric guitar immediately makes the track come across as more detached than the last. The instrumentals are at a higher volume than the vocals, making them a bit difficult to hear. Whether this is accidental or purposeful, it adds dramatic effect to the track and differentiates it from the previous one.

The focus on family struggles, along with the laser focus on love and heartbreak, provides evidence that this E.P. aimed to provide listeners with a well-rounded and beautiful experience.