There are a limited number of releases as we are nearing the end of the year, so I was not expecting for much, but to my surprise, I found Moke. Releasing their sophomore effort, Moke offers up “The Long and Dangerous Sea” (1 December 2009). This Dutch quintet has been rising up in the ranks as a Britpop influenced indie rock band, whose appeal is starting to become international. Their approach to music making is rather different compared to other bands. The quintet believes that repetition is a sign of weakness. Therefore, they have purposely devised their second album to sound almost completely different from their first. Their ten-track debut album, “Shorland,” possesses the typical successful indie rock sound. However, with the “The Long and Dangerous Sea,” they are taking a few risks. The band has incorporated several sounds together with a wider range of instruments and arrangement styles.
Despite their efforts to have two completely different sounding albums, they still carry one constant trait. Their sultry/ambiance noise creates this sense of comfort without giving the idea that it was effortlessness. The album is an organized mix of emotions, just like the cycle of life. There are tracks like “Love My Life” that exude happiness, whereas the track “Terrible End” may seem more slowed in tempo to accomplish a sadder visceral effect. There is a mood for everyone to relate to. However, the genius of it is that the album does not sound too jumbled up. The sonic journey is fluidic, never leaving the listener dumbfounded or confused. We know exactly what is going on.
Furthermore, “The Long and Dangerous Sea” may have this fluidic flow, but this flow this achieved by production style and not sonic continuity. Each track is filled with a variety of noises that varies from synths, guitars, violins, keyboards, and drums. Together, the melody brings such a genuine mood of whichever emotion that the band wanted to instill. And even though the band employs many familiar sounds, even Felix Magnin (vocalist) has a voice similar to other artists, the mix and approach to their music creates a distinctive and unique style.
The first single of the album, “Switch,” has a video which is not only flashy but memorable. The bizarre events in the video emphasize the title “Switch,” in which the character of the videos switches her appearance, moods, and her intentions. The video, paired up with the song, makes for a great first impression. That is the obvious motive behind the video; considering that the band is neither American, Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, nor New Zealanders, Moke will have to prove their chops to Anglophile critics of their prowess as a band. And prove it they do.
Obviously, there are going to be people who say that Moke is not a standout and have definitive elements from the past, but then again who doesn’t at this moment? In this revival of 80s (from new wave to post-punk), so many bands are paying more than homage, as they are sheer imitation. Moke, however, is not rehash or revival. Their sound many be influenced by the past, but their influences are definitely larger in range than other current artists. And this, I believe, is working to their advantage.
1. The Long & Dangerous Sea
3. Love My Life
4. Black And Blue
5. Nobody's Listening
6. Window Of Hope
8. Terrible End
Keep up with Moke at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here is their video for "Switch" from their YouTube Channel: moketheband.