Moscow - Demo

Bill Cummings 00/00/0000

Rating: 3/5

Cardiff alternative/art rock four piece Moscow were a new name to me when I was asked to check them out. Anyway stumbling through their minimal but well designed website I noticed I had actually attended University with the drummer of this band (of course this won't influence my reviewing impartiality). If that wasn't enough, upon hearing their first raw demo recordings from 2004 on their website, one thing stood out: this band have the potential to be something special.

The three songs on this demo were recorded for Adam Walton's BBC radio Wales programme. First track “Stomping Ground” is a gorgeous alternative rock song; a twisted guitar waltz builds and builds before exploding into a taught stop start rhythm, whilst Andrew Phillip Arnell's vocals at times resemble the desolate anguished moan of Thom Yorke. The spindling final bars are augmented by a tasty little angst ridden lyrical line: “it's these little inequalities that are dividing our interests.”

In fact, the influence of Radiohead looms large upon this demo. Moscow's sound probably sits somewhere between that of The Bends and OK Computer, from the vocals to the alienated lyrics to the off-kilter time signatures and the crashing guitars. But that's not to say Moscow don't have their own individuality: for example “The Great British Handshake”, in its two minute existence, fires along with a brilliant urgency in a way Talking Heads and current media darlings the Arcade Fire would be proud of.

Last track “What Went Wrong” is all down-tuned guitars, melancholic vocals and surreal dream like lyrics (“what went wrong/ walking across rooftops”). If anything, it sounds a tad like Radiohead's “Subterranean Alien” or some of Sonic Youth's more sedate moments, but manages to just about stay on course towards a twisting and sighing chorus.

Moscow may have a little way to go before they can produce their full sound. Some of the songs here could do with a tiny bit more work, but considering they have under twenty gigs under their belt they are a frighteningly good prospect and can only improve.

Also, what's refreshing about Moscow is not just their sound (which is unique enough on the South Wales music scene), but the fact that their bassist is getting off his arse and promoting gigs in aid of Oxfam.

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