The UK’s favourite (okay, maybe just my favourite) emo band are finally back with their second studio album, Blush. To say Moose Blood have had a break since the release their debut album, of I’ll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time, in 2014 would be a little unfair. The boys played on the 2015 Warped Tour and burst back onto the scene in 2016 with the announcement of a headline tour in April. The tour sold out before it had even started, and it was an unsurprisingly incredible string of shows.
It was also announced in April that Moose Blood had signed to Hopeless Records for the release of their second album. This announcement sent a lot of fans into a bit of a stress, with many of them worrying their sound would be compromised and controlled by the label. Moose Blood were quick to respond to these fears, reassuring fans that they would continue to have full control over the songs they write. Blush is proof that this wasn’t just sweet talk – this is an album that stays just as true to them as their debut, while feeling just that slight bit more refined.
Pastel may sound like a far cry from the soothing, heartfelt intro that Cherry provided for Moose Blood’s previous album, but the lyrics would suggest otherwise. Opening with “it’s been a few years now” and continuing with lines like “we’re married now” (vs. Cherry’s “look at me now I’m engaged to be married). This album opener pelts you straight into the catchy riffs and distinctive bounce that we have come to love and expect from Moose Blood, instantly making this album feel more optimistic and brighter than their debut.
Next up are the four tracks that Moose Blood have already released: Honey, Knuckles, Sulk and Glow. With over 1 million plays on Spotify, Honey is a track with the kind of hook that will stick with you for days and have you constantly going back to get your fill while you await the new album. Knuckles is another classic sing-along track bound to get crowds going from the very first chord. When you get to Sulk the tempo drops slightly, and the album gets that little bit deeper. Sulk is a stunning track that gives you a little bit of time to chill out before the boys get back into full swing with Glow, a perfectly named track that is so optimistic and uplifting it leaves you with a little glowing feeling. Cheek is yet another infectiously catchy song. When it got its first ever play on Radio 1 on Monday, it created just as much of a buzz as the last 4 releases. This is the part of the album that all seems to just blend into one after a few listens. That being said, I would argue samey isn’t necessarily a bad thing here, as you don’t for one second find yourself getting bored.
Sway is a clear nod back to Moose Blood’s emo roots. There’s the same polished, shimmery sound in the guitar tones, but Eddy’s voice has a touch more grit to it in this track, steering them back away from radio friendly and reassuring fans that they haven’t forgotten where they come from.
Reminding us that they are actually still an emo band at heart, Shimmer is just the kind of heart-breaking, slow building ballad we were waiting for from Moose Blood. As if over two minutes of almost nothing but Eddy and his guitar wasn’t good enough, the incredible guitar solo is enough to give you goosebumps and when the track ends just as gently as it started, it almost haunts you. Spring continues the album in a similar way, delivering a short sharp burst of a few more chilling emo vibes, before Freckle ends the album on a high, in just as polished and optimistic way as most of the tracks that precede it.
One thing I will say about this album, is that it could not fit more perfectly with the album artwork and title of ‘Blush’. This album is utterly charming and packed with endless smooth guitar tones and dreamy vocals. This being said, Moose Blood are still the perfect emo band. They have not by any means been turned into an optimistic, chart-topping pop-punk boy band like fans feared when they signed to Fearless Records. They are the voice of the new emo generation, as well as the not-so-new generation who still love emo just as much as they did in the 90’s when they were blasting bands like Brand New and American Football. Moose Blood will no doubt be a band people talk about growing up listening to in years to come, and this album will become a classic.
Blush is out on August 5th via Hopeless Records. Pre-Order it here.
Review by: Megan Smith.