Review Summary: Not too sweet, not too sour, five years later, Pink Lemonade is a downright psychotropic epic.
*We musicians can be a fickle, endlessly discerning bunch. In the role of the artist, nostalgia and complacency can easily turn into enemies. But as a fan, sometimes we can't stress it enough; if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Such an obstacle is deftly illustrated in the soulful saga that has become Closure in Moscow.
Five years after their 2009 post-rock inspired debut, fans could easily expect the sounds of a band matured. And matured they have. But in taking more than one cue from contemporaries Mars Volta, Closure in Moscow have served us Pink Lemonade with a serious dose of psychedelic sauciness, unafraid to grin defiantly through even their most twisted of vibes. The results are tart, and occasionally profound.
At the start of it, the soft, reverberating nature soundscape gives way to odd-meter riffs, sensual grooves, and the most tasteful of ludicrous lyrics. There were several moments I equated my first listen of the album with a serious psychedelic trip; insane, abstract correlations and strange words I'd never heard before, not to mention visions of dinosaurs and techno-prostitutes... like a night of magic mushies, Pink Lemonade approaches goofy distortions and effects with cinematic, existential vision. Think Blade Runner meets Mighty Boosh in a Tarantino-presented blues festival.
'Neoprene Byzantine' and 'Dinosaur Boss Battle' reach new heights for the band in terms strutting their stuff, but not without turns of subtle, Chechire-Cat teases. Chorus-laden guitar lines drip with style and fuzz, as vocalist Christopher DeCinque channels the fearlessness of both a young Robert Plant or Freddie Mercury. Fans will be happy to hear the already impeccable vocal interplay between DeCinque and backup-vocalist/guitarist Mansur Zanneli are even more effective this time around, even when competing with bizarre voiceovers spoken in Japanese or Robot Speak. It's almost elegant for how visceral it all is.
The bands new rhythm section brings an absurd amount of funk and danceability to the album, a topic of some debate among long-time fans. When drummer Salvatore Aidone and bassist Duncan Miller tastefully lay their chops down over the shiny, pop-influenced single 'Seeds of Gold,' listeners will inevitably find themselves "dancing like they don't know they suck," as was warned in the album preview.
However, more stubborn listeners may not know how to react to all this sheer joy and wonderment if they expected a post-rock opus similar to First Temple or the 'albumette' before that. It's true. The more angular side of the band has subsided, but their creativity has surged. The consistency lies in it's vision and execution. While the music takes a daring, obvious leap towards psychedelic blues, a far cry for the most part from their previous outings, the band's quasi-esoteric passions burn ever brighter.
'Mauerbauertraurigkeit,' the albums slowest moment, is the one genuinely nostalgic track, occasionally sounding like it originated from the days of The Penance and the Patience. Incidentally, this was my one issue with the entire album. The song itself is beautiful, and stands amazing on its own, but the nostalgia alone distracted me from the flow of the album for a minute. Although it does lead to the now even more progressive 'Church of the Techno Christ' and truly interesting 'Beckon Fire.' 'Fire' is a truly moody, almost hip-hop influenced slow burn, and possibly my favorite track.
Much like the fuchsia tinged ridiculousness (or the 'fuchsiafied dream') the album gets its name from, the separate ingredients of the record are as mischievous as they are mysterious. Both immediately satisfying and worth savoring with taste, Pink Lemonade is the sound of sweet and sour magic several years in the making.