Retro-rock isn’t dead
The rock trio is an ever so mesmerizing part of rock & roll history. A trio has a sound unlike any other, as there are endless possibilities that blur the lines of music genres. But in a genre full of pomp and grandeur, it is ever so hard to produce a sound worthy of a wider audience.
Hailing from Bjelovar, Croatia, the genre-blender known as Them Moose Rush has always done things for themselves to make it big. The Eastern European trio’s newest endeavor, Dancing Maze, is a climactic album with a vintage sound, hidden ciphers and heart-racing rhythms that rock hard. Each song is its own story and tells the journey of one of the band’s heroes going through a conceptual maze, according to guitarist Nikola Runjavec.
To kick off the album, “Ray’s Dancing Maze” is the first taste of the shouting and whimsical spirit this album captures. The band is youthful, loud and crazy, and this is present in every second of this song. To follow is “Jeff’s Transcending,” a ballad of grunge-like guitar riffs and the hollowed distortion needed to make people walk the maze as well. In a sudden transition, “Annie’s Moles” encapsulates the aggression and adrenaline this band wants to sound like. Though almost forcibly combined with instrumental riffs, this song is beginner metal at best. “Jerry’s Bacon Flavored Vegan Potion” and “Dolly’s Wedding Song” follow the same footsteps as better attempts, but with a little more attitude.
“Jude’s Got Another” should be considered an alternative retro-rock. It’s escalating guitar riffs and bountiful drumbeats turn into a strained track with reaching vocals. Runjavec’s guitar is entrancing and should be in the forefront more often because it is chaotic and filthy. Who says solos are out of style, right?
On a more alternative note, “Nigel’s Food Falling” has the drama and delayed guitar riffs needed much earlier in the album. Bursting high notes simmer in the dramatic lyrical story being told in this song. The next track, “Sonny’s Hidden Money,” has the same energy with a different emotional component. Similar to a melody from an ’80s hair band, this track is spliced with stretched pauses to put people in the maze as the listener. Though another signature guitar riff and bass player Branimir Kuruc’s enchanting basslines will leave people wandering in the midnight hours.
“Yvonne’s Getting On” is where the album takes a turn towards indie rock. With atonal patterns and stressed melodies, this song is real and symphonic. “Chris’s Cake Crisis” and “Jack’s Secret Algorithm” brood on sensitivity, almost suspenseful with their respective rhythms. This plays on the consistent, almost mathematical, feel the band possesses in its earlier work. Both are progressive and burst with the crazy jams this band has proven to be capable of.
With each listen, Dancing Maze grows stronger. It wraps around people’s eardrums and takes them for a ride. This band blends retro-rock with new school metal (and many other things). The Croatian trio has proven themselves to be proficient in many styles, but needs more heart to take the rock genre to the next level.