Review Summary: After some very well received demos and a quick signing, Closure in Moscow deliver one of the better releases of 2008, with their albumette 'The penance and the patience'.
Once you break through the seemingly overpretentious dribble that is their bio, you will find one of the more surprising australian post-hardcore/rock bands around. With more hooks than a hook merchant(umm...?), subtle use of electronics and guitar riffs that help evoke emotionally responses. Closure in Moscow deliver on nearly every front occasionally falling into the traps their peers so gladly wade through.
The ep bursts forth from your speakers with the heartwarming opener 'we want guarantees, not hunger pains', given the current state world affairs this is a great title IMO for a rather spectacular song. From the onset the talent of this band is displayed, bringing the song forward with a selection of licks and snare heavy accented drum patterns that smoothly leads the listener from the verse into the prechorus. Laced with that beautiful slightly offbeat guitar riff, the prechorus acts as a segue with the ability to calm the song down momentarily before the first moments of true melodic bliss....the first chorus. This one jumps at you with vocal melodies that fly through the roof, although the guitar riff
for the chorus is the same as one used in the intro, the vocals propel the song to new heights. This song much like the rest on the ep, flows through sections usually ending with a variation of the main hook.
The second track on the ep 'dulcinea' marches out to a similar tune as the opener, structurally the song could be a carbon copy of 'gurantees' but melodically and rhythmically this is a new ball game, The song doesnt explode as its predecessor does, but still has a similar impact, magically intertwined vocal and guitar melodies propel the song forward with a very accented rhythm section. Minmal use of the double kick allows the song room to breathe while still retaining its power. The song really kicks up a notch from the piano interlude, where the song repeatedly flows through peaks and troughs. Flipping between epic heavier sections (peaks) and calming quieter melodic sections (troughs) culminating in the marvelous halftime chorus at the end of the song that drives home the hooks with some slightly more adventurous vocals being delivered.
Breathing underwater managed to disgust me upon the first few listens when it was uploaded to their myspace. But upon further listens one thing struck me in particular....its so damn catchy. Sections of the song make me think it was the last song they wrote and were starting to run out of ideas. For instance the intro doesnt flow with the song at all, it only succeeds in starting the song on a very weak foot with some badly placed electronics and completely indistinguishable dialogue. If you fast forward to the 20 second mark and listen from there you will hear a great song. They do revisit the intro a little later in another form, but its not as much of a downer as the intro. Theres also a section in the middle featuring bass slides, some very 'arena rock' esque drumming and gangvocals, this pseudo-breakdown doesnt add any value to the song, possibly gains them some cred with the hardcore crowd? But serves as a needless obstacle before the beautiful positioned guest vocals of Angelina Morino. While the song has some redeeming features like the catchy backbeat focused chorus and the guitar riffs that lift you up from your seat, it comes across as a slight chink in the armor of this solid ep, its not terrible just not as outstanding as it couldve been.
The ep returns to some familiar territory with 'heres to entropy' a newer improved take on their myspace demo 'clocks to suffocate'. Structurally the song hasnt changed at all, the parts are played just like in the demo just a lot better (potentially also some added guitar riffs, its hard to hear some parts in the demo). The drumming has especially risen to new levels taking the whole feel of the song with it. The song flows through its many facets with such zeal and strong musicianship that its no wonder the band have been snapped up by an american label. The tremolo picked guitar riff floating above the main guitar section in conjunction with the pummeling double kicks that are delivered around the 1:42 mark remains as one of the best sections on the ep in general. Clocking in at about 3 minutes this gem of a song truly puts closure in moscow in a league above the rest.
on any ep are always matter of hit and miss, they can be the worst thing youve ever heard or a awe-inspiring moment to breathe. But in the case 'ofelia....ofelia' neither of these apply. The song seems to just 'sit there', its actually a pretty vast and deep song, but it doesnt hook the listeners like a slow song should, it doesnt drag on in the sense that you want to skip it every time it comes on, but it will probably go right in one ear and straight back out the other without a second thought. The main piano melody along with the 'frilly bits' that go along with it work quite well and manage to keep the song flowing with just enough variation to interest the listener. As uplifiting as the latter half couldve been, it seems the song wouldve worked better simply as a piano ballad, maybe even with some clean guitar in the background.
'Jewels for eyes' closes the 'albumette' like a perfectly sculpted montage to all that has played before it. The song flows very well despite its length, making the aforementioned length seemingly trivial. The song begins with a well paced mid tempo section driven by some flowing guitar wizardry and just enough rhythmic punch to pull the song along into the rather exceptional delay riddled palm muted guitar and vocal break that picks up the pace of the song. As metal as the next section sounds, it doesnt feel corny, it adds a subtle variance to the song and breaks up the direction momentarily before it drops back into the hook of the song. The song continues to pick up momentum with the drums rolling it towards the point in which the song explodes into what could best be described as a breakdown (around 3minutes in). The beauty and of this section is that it hightlights the fact that it doesnt take talent to write a breakdown, but it takes talent to write a breakdown that doesnt appear to be a breakdown.
The epic song then gradually decends into a dramatic flourish of noise and sound that leads on to the rather soothing electronic section, the killer section that finishs this wild ride of a cd.
Closure in moscow have unleashed a stunning piece of art that has and will continue to garner them some much deserved respect not just in australia but also overseas. The albumette covers all bases of their respective genre quite skillfully showcasing a unified song writing approach and a clear focus on walking a fine line between melody and a energy deeply rooted in hardcore punk. While not perfect the albumette works mostly in their favour, cementing their place on top of the australian post-hardcore/rock scene.