In pop music, the 80s are still inescapable, but in the electronic field, the 90s currently reign supreme. The sounds of trance, jungle, garage, and IDM have all seen a major resurgence in recent years; somehow things have reached a point where even the electronics are re-evaluated and the average club kid often looks like an extra from The fifth Element.
Moin’s first album, Questionable!, is also very indebted to the 90s. But instead of exploiting the classic records of Aphex Twin and Goldie for inspiration, the British group, which consists of Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead of Raime, as well as the Longtime percussionist and collaborator Valentina Magaletti, who also spent time in the band Tomaga, dives deep into post-punk and post-hardcore, worshiping at the altar of bands like Slint, Shellac and Unwound.
With his muscular riffs and jagged guitars, the Questionable! brilliantly recalls a time when labels like Dischord and Touch & Go were at the top of the indie rock heap. It’s a direction Andrews and Halstead have hinted at before, both with their first Moin outings on Blackest Ever Black – which were released with little fanfare in 2012 and 2013 – and again in 2016. Tooth, by Raime. This LP infused the band’s usual low-end sounds with muscular Albini-core elements, but Questionable! strongly tips the scales towards the latter. While they haven’t completely given up on electronics, guitar is now clearly in the foreground, as is Magaletti’s percussion, giving the album an incredibly organic feel.
For anyone who’s seen Raime in concert in recent years, the thunderous grooves of Questionable! will probably sound familiar. Magaletti, who also provided drum sounds for both Raime records, has been in the band’s lineup for several years now, and live recording techniques have featured prominently in the creation of the new album. Questionable! is a stripped-down and stripped-down effort, but the general lack of polish in no way diminishes the power of the album. The sharp “lungs” sound like something the Jesus Lizard could have concocted (minus David Yow’s vocals), and the album’s tense basslines highlight the “Crappy Dreams Count” Fugazi channel. Songs like “I Can’t Help but Melt” and the closer LP “It’s Never Goodbye” – the latter could be a lost track of Spider land– slow things down, embrace the dirge while sprinkling a bit of psychedelia in the mix, but Moin’s intensity never falters.
Thirty years ago indie rock was full of records that sounded like Questionable!, and the groups of this era inspired successive waves of followers. But today, an album like this, coming from a context like Moin’s, seems radical. Most of the band’s peers put down their guitars a long time ago, and the AD 93 isn’t known as a hub for post-punk experiences, but none of that matters once. the nervous and licky distortion chords of the opener of the LP “No to Gods, No to Sunsets” come into play. With its incantation-like voice, the song also recalls the brooding vibe of bands like Three Mile Pilot, and that nightmarish spirit pervades the feverish “Right Is Alright, Wrong Is to Belong,” another highlight.
Questionable! is steeped in the past, but its appeal isn’t limited to its nostalgia factor. In an era when the electronic music landscape was inundated with precisely crafted DJ tools, narcotic breakout episodes, and clumsy pop-crossing attempts, Moin took a different path: plow straight, throw their amps and greet listeners. with a quick kick in the chest. It’s shocking, but it’s also an exhilarating reminder of the power of live music – and live post-punk in particular – even in 2021. After more than a year of life without concerts, Questionable! is anything but.
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