In some ways, Wellington band MOSES began life inverted, conceived by the concept of what they didn’t want to sound like rather than what they did. They had the edge though – the bulk of their band members had already played together under the guises of sitar dance band Love You To and psychedelic rockers The Blue Onesies. So when Moses was constructed in late 2014, it wasn’t merely to cement their stand against modern pop (which the six-piece say sounds dishonest), but to continue exploring the sounds they’d already begun to establish in previous projects.
Keep Your Heart Beating sees MOSES continue their textural voyage through hypnotic seas, making full use of psychedelic mainstays like echo and fuzz, but driving it home with post punk energy and shoegaze drone.
The songs first produced by the Kiwi band naturally reflected this, bringing to life vocalist Teyler Hayes’ back burners in a steady release of tracks throughout 2015, including their debut three-track EP MOSES1. Never ones to laze around, they followed this up by securing themselves a record deal with Half A Cow Records, smashed it on a national tour, and then got straight to work penning their second EP, which is due for release in early 2016. Unlike previous tracks however, this new EP will be all new material – an amalgamation of ideas, but still an extension of the definitely-not-modern-pop principle on which MOSES was founded. And fortunately, if 2016 still seems too long for you to wait, the band have offered up a brand new single, Keep Your Heart Beating, ahead to tide you over till then.
MOSES pride themselves on acquiring an ambient psychedelic sound, and Keep Your Heart Beating reflects just that from the offset: churning with multi-textured instrumentation and eerie echoey swirls, balancing discord with hypnotic harmonies. The track does what’s surely established now as a quintessentially MOSES thing: packing in a bunch of different stylistic nods, diving into pockets of sounds ranging from psychedelica to post punk to shoegaze, and drawing influences from the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Psychedelic Furs.
Melodies come treacle-thick, weaving in obtuse bends and stretching and contracting any sense of time, the vocals burr along gruffly in justaxposition to these gentle patters and shimmers of tambourine and if you listen in closely, there’s a great little bassy grit lent by saxophonist Louisa Nicklin. And together, all of these layer in amongst buzzes of reverb, ready to lull you into straight into a smoky, trance-like haze.
The accompanying video begins black and white, before spinning rapidly down a rabbit hole – profiles drift and slide about, and colours ooze from one psychedelic shade into another. It’s half spluttered and pixelated, half a mesmerising weave of patterns, which finally ease back into focus and regular, real life colour at the song’s close. With hypnosis like this, MOSES are certainly making good on their intention to unfurl their distinctive ambient-psychedelia sound upon the world.
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