Closure in Moscow
When they first burst on to the scene in 2008 with their self-proclaimed ‘albumette’ The Penance and the Patience, Closure in Moscow’s sound was aggressive, edgy and deeply steeped in the post-hardcore rock popularised at the time by bands such as Fall of Troy and Circa Survive. Over six years later, following a musical journey that has not only seen them hop across the pond from Australia to the States but also shift their sound into the sonically dizzying realms of highly ambitious, musically complex progressive rock, The Australian five piece have returned in a glorious psychedelic haze with 2014’s offering Pink Lemonade.
With experimental hard rock/jazz-fusion visionaries The Mars Volta still on an indefinite hiatus since their last LP some three years ago, Closure in Moscow have emerged as an increasingly likely choice to assume the Texas outfit’s position at the helm of the good ship Prog Rock.
Lead singer Christopher de Cinque has, in customarily offbeat fashion, described the album as “a 10 tier cake” comprised of “blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and earwax… with some shredded seaweed on top”, which proves a surprisingly apt metaphor for the eclectic musical blend synthesised from a wild combination of avant grade instrumentation and frenetic vocal work served up here.
From the pounding abruptness of opener The Fool, which starts with gentle synths layered over the soothing sounds of tweeting birds before giving way to jarring guitars and yelping vocals, through to the frankly bizarre closing track ピンク レモネード (which we are reliably informed translates literally as ‘Pink Lemonade’) with it’s baffling collection of Japanese schoolgirl chanting, it’s safe to say that the album rarely settles.
Title track Pink Lemonade rattles along delightfully like some lost Mars Volta epic, exhibiting many of the Texas pioneers’ trademarks as it shifts effortlessly between spacey prog rock and dirty riff-heavy interludes. Here, de Cinque’s voice rarely sounds more akin to Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s legendary howl, while the twin guitars of Mansur Zannelli and Michael Barrett intertwine with a salacious complexity which Omar Rodriquez-Lopez would surely be proud of.
Sprawling psychedelic odyssey The Brahmatron Song, clocking in at a leisurely nine and a half minutes, melts deliciously into the decadent rock belter Dinosaur Boss Battle, which echoes fellow Aussie headbangers Wolfmother with the scale of it’s wonderfully indulgent guitar solos.
But the band seem determined to show they are not afraid to stray from this well-trodden path, unfurling the full range of their musical ambition with the unashamed disco-pop beats of lead single Seeds of Gold and elsewhere on the similarly soulful groove of Church of the Technochrist. The latter, with it’s funk-driven verses that degenerate into a belting rock’n’roll chorus while de Cinque screams out a potent imperative to dance, “Get down on the floor, put your hands up for our lord, his gospel’s made of lithium and silicone”, whips itself into a mad frenzy by the close and leaves you feeling as drained as if you had been energetically worshipping at the feet of the aforementioned disco deity.
By the time the album reaches the outrageously uplifting Happy Days you can’t help but feel this is the sound of a band truly enjoying themselves, piloting their psychedelic vessel with reckless abandon across the ever changing seas of modern day experimental rock. There’s no telling where the winds of inspiration will blow them next, but if it’s half as enjoyable as this latest effort then listeners are certainly in for another multilayered delight.
Words: Henry Wickham