UK rockers Moose Blood dropped its third full length, I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore on March 9, its second release via Hopeless Records. The band’s 2018 calendar is packed United States and international dates, including some impressive festival bookings at Download, Slam Dunk and Rock am Ring. These guys are clearly on the rise.
But the LouderNow crew isn’t so hot on the new record. Here’s our co-review of I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore.
I arrived at Moose Blood during a pop-punk deep dive in January, when I spent weeks combing through the related artists section of Spotify, hoping its algorithm might turn me on to some new tunes. Moose Blood caught my attention — not in the way some other UK-based bands have, but enough to earn I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore a spot on my anticipated albums list.
I gave it a spin on a road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles this past weekend. It’s worth noting that my cousin — a worthy co-pilot on this six-hour journey — tends to shy away from rock music that leans too heavily on pop. So, three generic, safe songs into I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore, I felt a tension in my chest, a feeling often paired with introducing someone to new music, taking responsibility for whether they like it or not, fearing that the definitely won’t.
My cousin didn’t comment on the album, instead spending those 36 minutes reading a book. That should say it all.
Moose Blood caught my ear with the bright, shimmering anthems of 2016’s Blush. Here, they double down on bland and dynamically-gutted jams, which sorely lack the ambience, energy and intricacies that put Moose Blood on my radar.
Album closer “It’s Too Much” builds to a soaring bridge that feels fresh. But it lasts 20 seconds. It’s not “too much.” It’s too little, and it’s way too late to redeem the rest of this record.
I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore feels like a step back for Moose Blood. It’s a shame, considering the promise they held in my head.
Trent’s Hot Take
I have never been the biggest fan of any of Moose Blood’s vocals. While this album is no exception, I am way to distracted by the unimaginative instrumentation to even discuss the mailed-in lyrics and vocal performance.
There’s nothing wrong with mid-tempo music. Bands like The Dangerous Summer have successfully occupied that creative space for years, but this album doesn’t feel dynamic or ambitious.
There are bright spots, like the final minute of “Promise Me,” in which the guitars provide a spectral vibe akin to an Explosions in The Sky song.
Additionally, I will have to step aside for a second and admit that “Walk All Day With You” is the most sentimentally ambitious piece of music from the album, solely because it is about a mother. Pop-punk very often falls into the trope of talking about girlfriends, so this is a welcome surprise on an album that is otherwise full of predictable moments.
The record is mixed well, but routinely, no single instrument stands alone to pique the listener’s curiosity. Most likely, the culpability lies with the band for not creating a dynamic collection of songs. And when all parts are combined it blends to make the musical equivalent of how you feel after having fast food chili at 2 in the afternoon — bleh.
The interest meter never quite moves from less than a 4/10 to a 6/10, which gives for music that actually would serve pretty well as background at a party. It’s inoffensive, and unlikely to draw complaints from the folks next door for being too loud.
But if your rock isn’t upsetting your neighbors, is it really ambitious enough?