By even just opening this article, we can make a pretty safe assumption that you are one of us, friend – one of those long lost disciples of Closure in Moscow. Come on in.
But of course, in case you’ve just stumbled in, suffice it to say that the band has long stood as one post-hardcore’s most progressive and interesting projects, developing a cult following over the past decade not just through amazing albums, but notorious periods of silence between them as well.
Really, it’s not fair that as fans we basically clamor and kick rocks until Closure in Moscow coughs up more nuggets of musical gold, but… when the nuggets are this dense, can you blame us? Check out it out below.
“Jaeger Bomb” pops off with a massive shove into some of the spunkiest territory than they’ve touched on since First Temple, transcending much of Pink Lemonade’s mischievous meme-ness for something spicier and altogether more real. The record’s bitchin’ brew stays frothy as single “Primal Sinister” and “Absolute Terror Field” weave down-pitched, demonic voices into cybertronic funk-noir that feels as fresh as it does retrospective. In fact, now is probably a good time to get it out of the way – Soft Hell’s overall aesthetic, both in respect to songwriting and production, is the perfect follow up to the world-building prog they perpetuated with the previous album. The vibe is more retrofuturism than cyberpunk, but feels like an actual chronological shift from the events of the previous record the way a true sequel should – as if it’s been nine years since the events of Pink Lemonade transpired, as opposed to nine years since the release of an album.
But we digress – also, the band hasn’t totally lost it’s sense of humor, which makes the heartbreak all the more real on tracks like “Keeper of the Lake” and the neo-soul treat that is “Holy Rush.” These two in particular feel like hotter, more experienced cousin of “Seeds of Gold,” you can’t help but get onboard. The funk is still within them, possibly more than any other genre, and it’s certainly to their benefit. That’s not really a surprise – but side B hits different, though. It’s deeply moving and subtly dark as a certain rawness creeps in, bringing up feels that haven’t felt this exposed for the band (or maybe even us?) since the days of Penance and the Patience EP.
As stunning hits like “Lock Key” and “Don Juan Triumphant” drip with style, there’s an unshakable melancholy to them, and it doesn’t stop there. These emotions bloom and blossom on the title track and the ebullient “Lovelash,” which also continue to establish just how deep the rabbit hole goes with these guys, let alone the album itself. Closing with the supreme jazz confessions of “My Dearest Kate” brings the record to a genuinely satisfying conclusion, like a book you know you’re going to read again before you even finish the last page.
When you get down to it, it’s hard to deny that Soft Hell is a new level of dedication and execution for the band. It’s a damn near perfect blend of what fans want, what the band needs, and what Closure in Moscow is capable of when we let go of those expectations. With all of its singularities are perfectly preserved by the production as well, every moment shimmers with maximum impact, and what an impact it is – the boys have once again proved they are masters of themselves, and true innovators of their craft. Abandon all expectations, embrace the surreal, and dive deep into the band’s next fantastic voyage.
What a damn week! Even though we’d be content to leave it to covering Closure in Moscow, we’ve also got NYOS, Parquet, Seven)Suns, Stress Positions, Native Audio and so, so much more coming down the pike. The pike is just non-linear, so… remember that. If we say it’s just around the corner, we’re not sure which corner. We’re just speaking in angles, which is math rock as fuck. Check out Soft Hell in its entirety here.