Review Summary: Orange Juice without the Pulp.
Post-Punk was arguably paid a posthumous tribute after shoe-gaze took to expansion following the success of stage-moochers My Bloody Valentine, The Cocteau Twins, and others. One thing reads clearly though; both were already derivative spawns of bigger, greater movements, one of which includes the ‘apocalyptic’ wellspring of senseless rebellion embodied by the psychedelic movement, further blanketed by the punk explosion in 1977.
As such, both genres seem to follow the same sort of ethereal pathway towards infinity. Whether it be to juxtapose something with that assiduous nature of the human condition, or to further encompass it through artsy guitar-interplay and droning walls of sound, the homogenization of these styles leaves a strange sum of its parts. Regardless, Moscow Olympics’ smooth blend of the two, nevertheless a contrasting musical gem, proves to be nothing short of a success. The five-piece outfit, hailing from the Philippines, have seemingly shown musical prowess beyond their commercial years, and with their upshot of clashing styles, the band seems to be done gazing at their shoes. But, are they really?
Sardonic wit finds no place on “Cut the World”, a cut in which the world seems a little too complacent for politics and religious aftermaths alike, ironic as it may appear. The title, pointing at slurred anger in accordance with the naked eye, is quenched by a bittersweet sense of irony found in the music contained within. Incidentally, the mini-album sleeve, along with the actual opus borrows from a limited palette of colors. That’s not to say this latter doesn’t top off its cake with a little icing. From the opener, “What Is Left Unsaid”, to the self-titled finale, the band blends perfect fifth intervals amidst a fair dose of harmonic arpeggios, wrapped in reverberation and tremolo aplenty; and of this a soft ringing which is reminiscent of dousing streetlights, as the strummers bid farewell to their status quo.
Significantly, Moscow Olympics strike gold in their ability to coagulate their songwriting throughout the album. Coating soft bass runs with the aforementioned harmonic picking, the band proceeds into carving out their accomplished niche of shoe-gaze, droning their instrumental arsenal plethorically to induce a sort of catharsis in the listener. Although hard to follow in regards to progression, the bass is prominent above its counterparts. Akin to everything else, it makes for anything but a superficial listen, whilst the drums in turn run rampant in their indie rock-esque simplicity over the convoluted weave of instruments. Vocally, the quartet falls into a shoe-gaze rolodex, which is safely ascertained with delay-effects and fitted well behind the mass; enough so to be able to forfeit the last puzzle-piece into fully realizing a distant soundscape that trademarks the troupeau’s sound.
Nothing from the get-go should strike as being flawed on an album such as ‘Cut the World’, but despite already putting a commendable stylistic twist, the outing seems to lack some sort of spark of momentary charisma, an ingenuity which would put it above its predecessors. It is obscure in the truest sense of the word, but the putting in practice of this leaves the listener wanting more, especially with the closing track, which seems to fade out on an inadvertent note. Nonetheless, with a little commercial success, the band will certainly bring about novelty in modern music, and with that the future holds its silver lining. Don’t get me wrong, because when all is said and done, Moscow Olympics’ entrée unmistakably makes for a great listen with headphones in a secluded place.