Reviewed by: Adam McGrath
The Dutch band with the biblical name follows up its 2013 I Got Skills EP with a proper full-length release. This self-titled album (Burger Records) is lovely garage pop which demonstrates a variety of related influences, including late-sixties British rock, ’90s-era alternative, and California surf-rock.
On opening track, “Bloodsucker,” a sharp electric guitar plucks out a riff and is then joined in unison by singer Melle Dielesen’s pitched voice asking, “Do you really think you’re all that matters? Do you really fear you’re on your own?” Rhythm guitar and ride cymbal kick in and take us into the wave of four-four time that carries throughout the album.
Dielesen’s ability to use his voice as an instrument, often mimicking guitar lines and solidifying a song’s melody, elevates the music to an inviting and memorable place. Songs like “Peter Jr.,” and “Skinny Girl” will satisfy a lighter pop itch, but there is something heavier lurking in this album.
A louder rock sound tries to escape on songs like “Seasons,” “Time’s A Headache,” and “Gimme Some,” where the rest of the band—drummer Raven Aartsen, bassist Corto Blommaert, and guitarist Ernst-Jan van Doorn—gets to shine. Featuring lush distortion interspersed with fat snare hits and ribbony bass, these songs are a restrained version of the band’s hard rock potential.
The balance of rock and pop works for Mozes And The Firstborn, and should draw them fans from all over the indie-rock spectrum.