By Ben Pikssoc
Label: Zen Ten Records
Strolling on stage to plug in for brand new album ‘The Die Is Cast’, Messrs West and Partridge (Moriaty to you and me) give the listener about 15 seconds of warm up before the first of many big beefy guitar lines stampedes in, just to let us know what we’ve got in store for ourselves over the course of the next 48 minutes. ‘LOL’ features a Liam like sneer and tubthumping beat backed with a sillily bombastic shout-a-long-a chorus (‘L-O-L!’) which will bring stoopid smiles to even the most hardened of faces.
If ‘LOL’ is Moriaty taxiing on the runway, former single ‘Shake’ is the sound of them turning on the afterburners, the G-Force tearing off your earlobes and the band firing themselves at rocket speed into the sky. ‘24-7’ follows quickly, continuing on a(s)pace in all its visceral, bombastic glory.
Moriaty have developed the art of giving themselves a breather though. Probably knowing very well that to pummel us into submission this early would be remiss of them. So that’s precisely what we get at the start of latest single and standout track ‘Balls out of the Bath (An Ode to Mary)’.
A 50s Link Wray twang morphs into the crunchiest of Monster Crunch riffs that you know Jordan also built from the frets up (just like his guitars). West feels the pressure though. Somehow the song steps up another gear, only coming up for air to slip into a Mayonnaisingly (sic) pleasing middle eight, before the songs ominous Jaws like motif reminds you of where you’re supposed to be, namely losing your shit to the greatest tune Led Zeppelin never wrote, as it kicks back in to blow your face off.
Change of pace ‘OH!‘’s riding off to the house of the rising sunset in the Wild, Wild West of Devon. This could even be the sound of Dire Straits (ask your Dad) sipping whisky at the last bar open in town.
Opening side two with a bright uplifting song that reads like a motivational poster from Curtis Mayfield’s (ask your Grandad!) admin office that you can actually live your life by (“No regrets kid!’ and ‘Keep on, keeping on.”) Moriaty follow this with ‘Sonny’, a 3 minute pop rock song that could feel clunky and tame in the wrong hands but its AOR car stereo feel is welcome (probably because of its Macguffin like tendencies). The band don’t let anyone off that easy though, the tune still remembers to go bang before it finishes.
‘Bills’ has barely started before another riff slaps us in the face. Like all the best rock music, everything speeds up halfway through. West starts speaking/screaming in tongues “IJUSWANSOMETHINGTOOBELUEVEEIIN!” as guitars wail and drums crash around him. Matthew Partridge smacking the skins like his and everyone else’s lives depends on it.
One of the biggest criticisms labelled at a lot of guitar/drums two pieces is the lack of light and shade in their sound. That things tend to suffer from a straight-down-the-lineness that makes them undynamic. Moriaty have this dynamism in spades. They have the ability to both smack you in the mouth or caress your cheek with a feather whenever the mood suits. It serves them very well indeed.
By the time ‘The Die Is Cast’ fades in we are given more space and allowed a setup for arguably the best track on the album. ‘Netflix’ is a classic going away/leaving piano song that I’m sure Tobias Jesso Jr wishes he’d written. It gives the listener a release and a hug for making it through the madness, despite the fact that we can’t change anything as the die has already been cast. Not that Moriaty would change anything anyway.