The prospect of Moose Blood teasing new material from their agonisingly-awaited second LP Blush has elevated their latest UK trek to stratospheric highs of anticipation. Even without two fresh cuts, the band still has countless anthems which, to coin an oh-so-relatable phrase, can make you feel all the feels.
Greywind’s melodic intensity is miles beyond the Irish brother-sister duo’s infancy (tonight is their second ever gig). Steph O’Sullivan’s saccharine vocals prove divisive as they contrast with guitarist sibling Paul and their unyielding backing band’s searing alt-rock. For the most part, however, this is a firm and friendly introduction to the newest members of Moose Blood’s ever-growing ‘Mates Club’.
The Winter Passing find a better balance between rough and ready punk rock and sharp, witty indie-pop. Brash gives way to broody as their set progresses, but the consistent clarity of their hooks means that the Dublin five-piece are riding the crest of the Emerald Isle’s new wave of talent.
Moose Blood don’t even have to strike the opening chords of ‘Swim Down’ before the crowd are pouring out passion by the bucketload, and making the bouncers work for their keep at the barriers. From the joyous sentimentality of ‘Pups’ to the swaying melancholia of ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’, the band are nothing short of sensational in return.
Now, about those new songs… ‘Honey’ has left Moose Blood’s fanbase polarised with its sickly sweet pop-punk sheen, but when it airs live with a charm not dissimilar from Jimmy Eat World in their prime, all apprehension heads straight out the window. There are few things that can make you feel as warm and fuzzy as your other half’s sweater, a late-night coffee, or that umpteenth spin of Deja Entendu, but you can safely count these new choruses amongst those.
Their live display has never been much of a spectacle (because with songs like these who needs it, right?) but what is seen tonight on stage is a cooler, more confident Moose Blood. Don’t be expecting grand theatrics from them anytime soon but it’s reassuring that transatlantic travels have not stifled frontman Eddy Brewerton’s humbling demeanour and gratitude.
As Moose Blood saunter into a blindsiding finale of ‘Boston’ and ‘Gum’, it seems that ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind…’ will always sound fresh. If ‘Blush’ manages to deliver the same heart-wrenching poignancy of its predecessor, then Moose Blood will be well on their way to becoming the band of a generation.