Moros Eros – I Saw The Devil Last Night And Now The Sun Shines Bright
Release Date: October 31st 2006
Record Label: Victory Records
Moros Eros stick out like a sore thumb on Victory. An angular indie rock band on a predominantly hardcore label? How are they going to compete with all the breakdowns and screams? Well, they might not have chugga-chug guitars or growls, but the passion and originality of their debut album I Saw The Devil Last Night And Now The Sun Shines Bright distinguishes Moros Eros from their label-mates. It’s not at all what I expected, but in this case, that is a very good thing.
From the opening chords of the album to the chanting that brings it to a close, everything on I Saw the Devil Last Night And Now The Sun Shines Bright (abbreviated as ISTDLNANTSSB from here on out so as to hold off on carpal tunnel for a few more weeks) is carefully calculated, poured over and constructed to suit the central theme of the necessity of evil. Musically, this is anything but typical Victory fare with inspiration drawn from a wide range of styles and bands. Moros Eros has even been compared to many other bands such as Modest Mouse and mewithoutYou due mainly to the spastic vocals of Zach Tipton. While justified in many cases, Moros Eros do not merely imitate their peers but rather take the influences and tweak them to make a sound wholly their own. Sure, there are moments where you can tell the band had obviously been listening to the Talking Heads or other bands, but in context, it is a pretty endearing head nod of respect and does not take away from the finished product. The bouncy pulsing bass line combined with the syncopated guitar strumming in “Today Is The Day” is downright irresistible and sure to please any fan of dancy pop. “Insane and Speechless” contains sunny start-stop rhythms and a song structure that has to be admired for its sheer simplicity. Songs like these appear to be shallow upon first listen but, much like the tip of an iceberg, are surprisingly deep under the surface. Listening to ISTDLNANTSSB once would not give the listener the full effect. To be honest, I did not really enjoy it after one listen but after pouring over it, I have come to respect it a great deal more, with each spin yielding another nuance or accented hi-hat pattern that I had missed the last time around. Bobby Theberge’s drums sound huge. His tasteful tom infused patterns sound almost tribal at times but morph according to the song structure into jazzy latin beats or sweeping cymbal heavy sections. His drums and DJ Shultz’s bass make up a solid rhythm section that propel each song forward in a constantly changing manner, with Tipton’s twangy guitar and Chris Firebaugh’s keyboards acting as mere accents to the rhythm. This bass and drum heavy style allows ample space for Tipton’s rabid vocal delivery.
The music may be full of sunshine at points, but don’t be fooled. This record is surprisingly dark when paired with the morbid lyrics of vocalist/guitarist Zach Tipton. Exploring all aspects macabre, Tipton weaves a tale that binds all songs together thematically. The contrast between the severe vocal subjects, dealing with everything from views on death to hell, and the lighter pop infused music never sounds forced, providing a new level of musical accessibility for topics so dark. Though this attitude and combination are strong, they also lack a little in the variety department. One of the things that unfortunately also comes with repeated listens is a loss of distinct differences between songs. Moros Eros have taken a style and stuck with it through the whole album and though some might not consider this a bad thing, it certainly shows. Songs that were exciting at first lose interest very quickly after repeated listens. In contrast, some songs that were not as instantly appealing only get better with age. A majority of the songs, such as “Now The Sun Shines Bright”, “I Saw The Devil Last Night” and “Insane And Speechless”, will echo in your head for days. Regrettably, there are a few tracks that simply act as filler and are not up to par with the rest of the tracks. If Moros Eros can pin down the catchiness that makes the good songs successful and spread it out with a little more variety, they could easily win over a whole bunch of new fans. Until then, they are stuck reaching. Who knows, with time and a little more expansion on their sound, Moros Eros could even be the next big thing. While we wait, we are left with a debut LP that may not earn points for variety, but is for the most part an impressive addition to your summer listening collection.