We all know that it’s virtually a criminal offence to arrive home from a night out in your average indie disco without, during at least one point in the evening, having tried your damn best to look moodily intense and interesting. There’s a particular kind of music – a Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain-revering kind of music – needed to soundtrack those moments and, during the mid-00s, that kind of music underwent a revival. You couldn’t move on a dancefloor without bumping into someone belting along to an Editors track or thinking they were Paul Banks from Interpol; to be honest, chances are you were that person too.
That populist revival hasn’t really let up since – just look at White Lies, Airbourne Toxic Event, and too many other bands to name here – and, with the release of their debut EP, ‘Spirit of a City’, Limerick band Moscow Metro are the latest to join the cause. Here, they’ve offered up four tracks in that dark and brooding vein, which, although solid and polished in their own right, sound perhaps too close to the myriad of others that have gone before them to leave any real lasting mark.
What the four-piece has produced is an exploration of the kind of themes perfect for moody posturing (death, break-ups, social ennui), underpinned by an expansive and echo-laden soundscape. Drums pound and crash behind speedy, driving guitars and synths, building towards almost-anthemic hooks. Seán Corcoran’s vocals, meanwhile, take on rich, sober tones uncannily close to Matt Berninger of The National, which often counteract the insistence of the music behind them.
It’s a well-constructed, well-produced and confident record, but the problem is that there’s not enough distinction between the tracks to make any particular one stand out, and they sound so close to their influences that it actually gets distracting. Opener Spirit of a City? It may as well be that Editors track being belted out on a dancefloor back in the day. Future Fades and Where It All Ends? They could be old lost demo tapes from The National. If you toned the synth down, you could probably even throw the remaining track, Headlights, into that latter category as well.
Is it a bad thing to know what you like and be influenced by that? No. Is it a bad thing to know what you like so well that it becomes less of an influence and more of an identity? Probably. It’s a pity that Moscow Metro haven’t pushed outside the post-rock revivalist boundaries with this EP. There’s clearly a lot of talent and energy there; it would be good to see that used to make something other than the well-worn sound of ten years ago.