Closure in Moscow’s American debut “First Temple” opens with a break-neck cross sticking that sounds like frantic Morse code. I’m no expert, but after a couple spins, I’m pretty sure it loosely translates to:
“Hang on to your butts.”
Australia’s music scene has produced a number of talented, successful groups in the past, even if most of them don’t find their way into heavy rotation in my collection (lookin’ at you, BeeGees, INXS, Men at Work, Savage Garden, Air Supply. Okay, maybe Savage Garden…). The bands that have captured my ears – AC/DC, Jet, and Wolfmother – tend to be cut from the same heavily blues-influenced riff-rock cloth. Maybe it’s the pub culture I picture when I think of Australia, but those bands make music to drink and fight to. Or at least drink and play Tekken to, depending on your comfort with live fisticuffs. Either way, it gets my blood pumping. I love it! That’s what I expect from Australian rock!
Closure in Moscow is different. Where their brethren rock with the stomp and strut of giants, Closure in Moscow slay instead with speed and precision. From note one, the playing is focused on densely interwoven guitar lines, complex drum patters and time signatures that duck and pivot like a basketball player.
Over it all, frontman Christopher de Cinque’s vocals soar, crafting melodies that radio-rock bands would fall over themselves to record (see “Sweet#hart” below). Better still, the combination of his higher register with some unique phrasing takes the vocals into an unexpectedly funk and R&B indebted territory.
Some would call the results entry level prog rock; I’d call it highly refined. The band has managed to take the swirling, spacey, sometimes meandering sounds of groups like Yes, Rush, King Crimson and Tool and blend it with bite and an ear for hooks that their pub rock ancestors would be proud of.
One last note: listen to this album on the best speakers if you can find. Not only is there a small orchestra’s worth of instrumentation hidden away in some surprising places, but the drum and guitar tones at play are some of my favorites in recent memory.
My favorite track – “A Night At the Spleen”:
Chris Cullari | Beat Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL| Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |