Intriguing, right? It’s enough to want to hear the music…
(Then I had to buy it from iTunes <hate iTunes> – a saga happened, but I was finally able to listen, then listen, then listen, then ponder. And since I bought it on iTunes, I had to listen and type out the lyrics so I could see them and ponder them and listen).
These guys are The Moderates. I really like their stuff! I’m thinking I might have to get their older stuff, too (they really don’t look old enough to have older stuff, but apparently they do). Three guys – Josh Taylor lead vocals and guitar, Wes Mathison on bass and back-up vocals, and Garret Huff doing an amazing job on the drums.
Released August 6th, this album is actually an EP – only 6 songs – and worth the $5.94. Well worth the $5.94. It hits all of the genres I prefer in music, and the lyrics actually mean something – a definite bonus. To clarify – I tend to prefer hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, and a bit of blues. (Okay, the bit of blues might be missing from these songs, unless the lyrics themselves make the music qualify here).
The songs feel very autobiographical, which tore me apart when I got to the song “Inescapable You.” So let me talk a little bit about that song.
“This world is sick with wrecks like you/In your heart you feel but your mind’s a mess/Your body’s numb from all the hopeless things/That eat at your mind.”
The song starts out by hitting you over the head in a good way (thanks Garret and Wes) – then they get to that first line. Talk about strong lines. The song is full of them – lines that grab and hold on, some that want to punch you in the face. This is serious music about honest-to-goodness stuff that is genuinely meaningful. The quality of the music itself adds greatly to the meaning, and the quality of Josh’s voice tears into you (well, into me anyway). The start of this song reminded me of The Cranberries and “Zombie,” a good thing. This is not music for people who don’t want to think. But if you care about what you put into your mind, this is where to get some good stuff. Click to hear it for yourself. Reverbnation.com
So I may be wrong (it’s been known to happen), but it feels to me as if this song is about an addicted parent. What appear to be autobiographical notes are woven through it, and then comes the line “You’re treading water/In a tar ocean,” which feels like addiction to me. It’s probably my favorite line from the entire EP. Quality lyrics, seriously quality. (My husband said “Doesn’t that mean you’re treading tar?” – so literal that man)!
Additional strong lines: “Your body’s numb/From all the hopeless things/That eat at your mind.”
“I’m the only light, but I’m always on the horizon./Why can’t you see?”
However, I have a Mom note for the young man who wrote this song (remember I bought it on iTunes, so I don’t have full information, which includes the name of the composer) : You say “Your body’s dead with the/Sickness I know I’ll never have/I could never be that selfish” – An awful lot of addicts are a product of addicts – and all of them promised themselves that they would never be that selfish, so if I am right about the content – well, you’re smart, think about it.
This particular EP starts out light hearted with “Strange Town” Wes Mathison comes into his own on the bass, driving this fast paced, fun – even danceable music that leans towards the punk genre – the song feels like these three are wide-eyed innocents wandering around Las Vegas. The strongest line of the song is the first one:”How did we get here?/The place that our eyes swore that we would never see.” I lol-ed, seriously! Although perhaps, since I hear that these young men are from Long Beach, and their name implies a certain political belief, their eyes swore they would never see Hollywood 😉
One line is repeated over and over “I don’t want to miss right now” and this resonates with me personally. This idea is the place I have come to after my whole near-death thing. (Don’t worry, I’m fine now). Today is all we have – this is it – I don’t want to miss right now, either! Great message guys, even if it was unintentional (and if in was intentional – excellent job)! 😀
Young man who wrote this particular song ( iTunes, remember?), I have an English teacher question: If “The sun is on its way down” why is it so surprising that you are “wide awake” ??? Shouldn’t you be awake at six or seven pm? (I know, I know, it rhymes – but is that really a good answer)? (Oh, and teacher comment! Avoid the word “Just,” it generally takes away from the power of the sentence). (But sometimes you just need another syllable badly).
Hey! I just remembered there is a link on their Facebook page – I urge you to take some time out to listen to it – well worth it – here’s that particular song https://www.facebook.com/themoderates/app_178091127385 along with three others that must be some of the earlier music we were promised. (you have to go to the Band Page to find it, though).
Moving on to the song “Colour,” the namesake of the EP. This is a spoken song, and it’s a good dream. Also it’s smart to use the words “It is a dream,” since you invite comparison to a very famous speech when you use “Dream” in a spoken song. This, however, is where I become just a little worried about the actual name of the band itself. When you are speaking of your hope for “All men and women” are you really speaking about all? Are you actually advocating for marriage equality here? I hope so, but the political ramification of the words The Moderates makes me worry.
Strong lines: “Exploding out of the back of my mind,” “My dream is hope,” “Will make or break it’s existence/Far beyond the exploding walls/Of my own mind.”
“Coma” is arguably my favorite song. Love the tending-towards-ska up beat, playing with the rhythm of the words as well as the music, and the humor. I giggle at the list of things that have changed coming out of that coma… but “The internet is faster,” whoo hoo! hurray!
I also wonder if that parent I think I see in “Inescapable You” was in a coma at some point, creating an idea for a song. At any rate, this is also my daughter’s favorite song – she already knows all the words and is singing along 😀 (She’s 13, btw).
Anyone still reading this – remember that you can still listen to and go buy the song at: Reverbnation.com/themoderates
In the song Where Are You? Josh Taylor gives his most impressive vocal performance on this particular EP (in my ever-so-humble opinion). This is another piece that feels extremely autobiographical – and this one I think is about losing that person we have been dating. (Or perhaps it’s about the person in “Inescapable You”). Haven’t we all spent so much time worrying and wondering “Where are you now?” about someone? And with his amazing voice Josh blasts the question with a surprisingly mature pain. Later in the song he plays with tenderness in the strong lines “The sun is shining here/The shadows have all/All drifted away/The clouds are so bright that they almost hurt my eyes/But I still say take me away.” Josh has a surprisingly mature voice for such a young fella.
The song does feel just a bit unfinished, though. Maybe that’s purposeful, since the relationship itself was unfinished, maybe it’s accidental. It’s still an excellent song.
And finally we come to the song Black and White. It feels as if this is where the family went after one of the parents became an addict with the line “God you felt so close to me when we were still a family.” I don’t know if the composer is talking to God or using the word as an interjection – but either way it feels like a broken/dysfunctional family. Then the strong lines: “Don’t try to tell me that it’s all right/‘cause I see the scars you’ve had your whole life/I can tell you how much I need you/But you won’t understand” add to the feeling of the parent who is emotionally unavailable. And, of course, being me, I connect this song with the addict I think I’ve seen in “Inescapable You,” and there is a pattern. It must be a broken family, right???!!! “For the sake of your family you’re gonna have to try.”
I love the idea brought out with this song that melodies and memories are interchangeable, because, well, aren’t they? Doesn’t a melody bring the memories with it?
And here is my final teacher comment: The line “Beggars and liars and cheaters and thieves” feels off. Do you really think beggars are in the same category as liars, cheaters and thieves? Yes, they all need something, but… well, it feels off to me.
All that said – buy the music! Somebody sign this band!