Mörse - Mörse EP
Record Label: Eastrain Records
Release Date: July 2, 2012
The knee-jerk association one makes with the name "Morse" is to H2O frontman Toby (well, a good number of Americans mired in the hardcore punk scene, at least). Of course that association would be about 3000 nautical miles off, and yet the French band's style is hardly lost in translation: blown-out and fuzzy, they're a throwback to hard-edged mid-90s 'core emblematic of Harvest blended with something of southern-rock. It's a bit watered down and not too adventurous; the only obstacles involved are you shuffling through a French-English dictionary over and over again.
It's a self-titled EP debut, one that seems to prefer simplicity over potential calamity. In approximately seven minutes and ninety-four seconds, it plays it safe, which may be fitting for spur-of-the-moment hardcore retirees like Shark Attack or Tear It Up, but Mörse has neither that rampaging shirt-puller or loud and wolfy singalongs. What it does provide is the exact opposite: a charming amount of consistency and feel-good, grainy textures in the bass-tones and rhythm.
Opener "Le Bannissement" dabbles in circle pit territory by bursting into fast punk play midway through; the dominant riff in "Sous terre" lends to subtleties of metal, and for the first time the vocals take a melodious leap at the chorus mark; and "Pour qui preside l'effroi", a mostly sludge number, counterbalances itself with energetic and heavy pounding in the drumwork.
The brevity of Mörse means you narrow in on the petty details unfortunately, such as each track beginning on the same note, or the lack of experimentalism. Vocally, it charges; instrumentally, it's compact. Artistically, Mörse could use some fine-tuning. That isn't to say that the members themselves don't work hard, but the output is almost all work and no play. For a band that salutes the talents of Trap Them, however, they have a few things right: lyricism tackling aggression, terror, and solemn oaths; so we'll await something of even more sacrificial substance.