The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum
Record Label: MuSick Recordings
Release Date: July 21, 2009
Quick. Name at least five Hungarian rock bands. Okay name three. How about two? Chances are you can't even name one. But that will most certainly change when Hungarian rock band The Moog release their sophomore album Razzmataz Orfeum. A 2007 nominee at the MTV Europe Awards, The Moog unleash a confident, polished brand of modern rock inspired by the likes of The Ramones, Blondie and David Bowie.
Formed in 2004 as teenagers, the band draws their name from a bar that each of the five members attended in their adolescence, while they were performing Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and Placebo covers. When Moog Music allowed the band use of their name, they gave the band a synthesizer, and that instrument shapes much of the sound on Razzmatazz Orfeum.
Led by stadium-ready opener, "This Is Horror," Razzmatazz Orfeum takes off like a speedboat and roars from start to finish. Blessed with a refreshingly clear baritone voice, singer Tonyo Szabo sings with the power and presence not unlike Bono or Matt Bellamy. Lead single "You Raised a Vampire," is a garage-goth-dance-rocker with theatrical vocals, frenetic drums, splashy synths and a huge hook.
The band effortlessly pushes forward with the tortured "Can't Say No, Can't Say Yes" which is awash in keyboards and double-picked guitars. The songs rise like sirens and catapult with a thunderous and biting edge that's hard to ignore and even harder to dislike. Tracks like the bristling, "Joyclad Armies," and the pensive "Self and Soul," reveal a maturation and a self-assuredness that is both surprising and worthy of repeated listens.
The album's biggest asset is its ability to shift tempos rather effortlessly. One minute the album is dark and growling, the next minute its psychedelic and fizzy. Other times it leaps with energy and anger, possessing a frantic electricity, while other songs hit at a mellow, mid-tempo groove. Whereas on most albums, such a varied range would fall apart and crumble, the songs seem to hold up quite well from start to finish.
Whether is the Hungarian-Gothic folklore that shapes their home city of Budapest or access to the catchy ditties and sun-drenched melodies of Europop, the quintet in The Moog seem to have a firm grasp on what it takes to make records while also making an impression. A tremendous step forward from debut Sold for Tomorrow, Razzmatazz Orfeum is the surefire sign of a band ready to ascend to unimaginable heights.
Excellent review. I'll pick it up. I have their first record (sold for tomorrow) and i heard this one was darker... but it seems in a good way, or better way. Saw the band live at sxsw a couple of years ago and they were quite the killers with amazing frontman and drummer.