Photo Credit: Nick Helderman
Hailing from The Netherlands is Mozes and the Firstborn. The band have released their suitably named Dadcore album, which can be defined as a post-grunge delight. It’s been a while since the group have released a full-length record, their 2016 Great Pile of Nothing went down a treat with the indie community. Continuing to tease fans with EP’s and singles, Dadcore was eventually released via Burger Records – a small independent label and store in California who specialise in garage rock. The record is clearly grounded in its Californian roots and takes you on a daze-like trip. With highs and lows, it perpetuates adolescent sentiments and creates a relatable coming of age story.
The title-track, Dadcore, is a winning number which sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s very reminiscent of California soft rock, with its lively sing-along and upbeat percussion. It’s a light, bop-friendly tune with nods to the 90’s surfer scene. Record label friends, Together PANGEA, feature on the track. The band is big on those pop-punk gang vocals, and Dadcore introduces us to a few more artist features. The static noisy five seconds of A compliments If I, and carries the song into the record’s first turning point. The sleazy amp distortion is slick and dynamic. “I should have left you down by the ocean” is perfect anti-love sentiment which fits flawlessly with the tone of the song. Building the song up with heavy drum work and bringing the melody to a halt with the soft plucking forms a climatic finish.
Sad Supermarket Song is an excellent nod to grunge legends, Audioslave. It’s the ideal angsty anthem and one of the fiercer tracks of the entire album. The story of mundane life is told through the low-energy pitch of vocalist, Melle Dielesen. It sincerely connects to its listener and expresses how many of us feel, moving through the motions of life. The thrashing instrumentals against the dusky vocals compliment the song’s ferocious statement. It’s a heavy dose of apathy to the otherwise livelier half of the first album.
Although the album is consistent in sound and execution, it can become a little repetitive. The second half of the record gives the listener some catchier tracks in the form of, We’re all Saints and Hello. The power-pop influences provide a needed pause from the slightly grungier tastes of the album’s first half. Hello is a 60s inspired track, packed with plenty of high-power vocals and rhythmic percussion. The brilliant shredding guitar from drummer Ernst-Jan van Doorn helps match the record’s overall character. The highlight of the album comes in the form of Scotch tape/ Stick with Me which features additional vocals from Kelsey Reckling. The change of pace is a refreshing and a well-needed boost. Reckling’s dramatic monologue delivers the song character and breathes life into the album. As Dielesen calls out “stick with me”, it strikes the guts and heart. The dark and raw emotion in this track captures the embodiment of grunge.
The standout pieces of this album are the quirky use of interludes throughout the album. When grouped, they spell out the album’s title, Dadcore. The intervals are a sweet tongue-in-cheek touch to a fairly basic record. They are a necessary component to keep up with the tonal shifts throughout the album. The 26 seconds, O emerges with an animalistic growl, and its narration is ominous matched with doom-metal inspired drumming which sticks out, whereas C is a cheerful campfire tune, with gang vocals entirely in play. These interludes have a tremendous DIY quality to them, reflective of the band’s label origins.
Fly Out II is a soft and lofty conclusion to the album, it lacks the same punch from the rest of the tracklist but is a warm finisher to send off listeners. “I need the real you, I need to peel you” is a hauntingly beautiful lyric and distinguishes itself nicely against Fly Out I, the grittier and pessimistic outlook of romance, creating an exciting conflict of ideas. The slow drum beat carries this song and creates a dream-like state of mind. It’s a satisfying ending for the rollercoaster of emotion this record presents.
Releasing new music in the first quarter of the year can affect the longevity of an album. It’s hard to say how much of an impact the band is going to make throughout 2019, but we can predict that Mozes and the Firstborn will gain some cult status shortly. With a consistent string of EP’s and singles, the band’s sound may not be revolutionary, but it’s a strong example of post-grunge executed excellently. They are breathing some new life back into our current grunge era.
Standout Tracks: Sad Supermarket Song, Scotch Tape/ Stick With Me, Hello
For Fans Of: Dinosaur JR, Nirvana, The Stooges
Written by: Caitlin Sharkey